Bids invited for Montreal Canadiens hockey team: report

Wed Apr 8, 2009 1:18pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Would-be buyers are being asked to submit formal offers for the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team this week, the Globe and Mail said.

Potential bidders have been going through the team's books for several weeks as part of due diligence procedures that could eventually lead to a deal to sell all or part of the team, the paper said, citing sources.

Radio-Canada, citing unnamed corporate sources, said several groups had signed confidentiality agreements with the Bank of Montreal's investment banking arm, according to the paper.

The network reported that 10 groups, including billionaire businessmen Stephen Bronfman of Claridge Investments Inc and Guy Lalibert, founder of Cirque du Soleil, have signed the pacts, according to the paper.

A source told The Globe it was "very disturbing" that the names were made public and did not deny the veracity of the list.

Fortune Magazine estimates the Canadiens to be worth about $335 million, the paper said.

The team could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

American businessman George Gillett, who owns 80.1 per cent of the Canadiens, has denied reports that he is considering selling his sporting assets, which also include English Premier League soccer club Liverpool.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore, editing by Will Waterman)

<p>Montreal Canadiens' Mathieu Schneider (3rd L) celebrates his first period goal against the New York Islanders with teammates during NHL hockey action in Uniondale, New York April 2, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>