Appeals court upholds sale of Vancouver Canucks

Tue Feb 3, 2009 5:33pm EST
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A Canadian appeals court refused on Tuesday to overturn the sale of the National Hockey League's Vancouver Canucks, which had been challenged by two men who claimed they were unfairly frozen out of the deal.

The trial judge acted correctly when she dismissed a lawsuit filed against Francesco Aquilini over a deal he struck in 2004 to buy a 50 percent stake in the team, the Court of Appeals for British Columbia ruled.

Businessmen Tom Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie had claimed that Aquilini broke a partnership arrangement and worked behind their backs when he struck the deal with U.S. telecoms billionaire John McCaw Jr.

He eventually bought McCaw's remaining 50 percent stake in the Canucks, as well as the team's home arena, General Motors Place, a deal valued in total at C$250 million ($203 million).

Aquilini, a Vancouver real estate developer, denied the three men had a partnership, an argument upheld by both the trial court judge and the three-judge appeals court panel in Vancouver.

($1=$1.23 Canadian)

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Rob Wilson)