So, now we get the backlash to yesterday’s report of a potential buyer for the Carolina Hurricanes, in the form of a short piece from Forbes calling yesterday’s report “fake news”. (2017, everyone!) The key bone of contention is the price that was quoted yesterday of $500 million which, as discussed in today’s Storm Advisory, was always the most tenuous part of the whole story.
Forbes’ Mike Ozanian does confirm, albeit in somewhat roundabout form, that a letter of intent does exist. So there’s that. But as for the price, he calls it hogwash, claiming that Chuck Greenberg does not have the financial resources to pay even a discounted price.
However, Ozanian provides no evidence - not even an unnamed source - to back up his claim. Also keep in mind that Forbes is the source of the long-disputed NHL franchise values, and Forbes and Bloomberg are competitors, one probably not taking too kindly to the fact they were scooped by the other. It’s too much to assume that this is just Forbes going “why, this cannot be!” but there’s probably a kernel of truth to it.
Remember, someone wanted Chuck Greenberg’s name, and that $500 million figure, out in the open yesterday. There’s a PR advantage to getting ahead of the story.
I’m reminded of transactions in soccer, when players are bought and sold during transfer windows. The selling team always tries to quote the highest price so it can say to its fans “look at how much money we earned on this player!” The buying team always tries to lowball the number so it can say to its fans “look at the great deal we got on this player!”. The truth is somewhere in between. It sounds like the same thing may be at play here.
The bottom line is that no one - Forbes, Bloomberg, WRAL, the Hurricanes, pick a name - is denying that a letter of intent to buy the Hurricanes exists. That’s, without question, a step forward in this process from where it’s been over the last few years. The rest of it is fog-of-war stuff, and with lawyers involved we may never get the full story until a press conference is called and the NHL Board of Governors votes to approve a sale.
Again: cautious optimism is warranted.