Gillett ponders sale of share in Canadiens

Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:11pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - U.S. businessman George Gillett is considering the sale of his sporting assets including Premier League club Liverpool and the Montreal Canadiens, a senior executive at the NHL team said on Monday.

"The Gillett family has retained the services of financial advisors in order to assess various strategic alternatives to optimize the value of its corporate assets," communications vice-president Donald Beauchamp told Reuters.

He confirmed a story in the French-language daily La Presse which said Gillett had hired a total of four financial firms in Europe, the United States and Canada to look at all Gillett's properties, including Liverpool.

In Canada, financial company BMO Capital Markets will examine the future of the Canadiens, the Montreal Bell Center where the team plays and the Gillett Entertainment Group.

Canadiens president Pierre Boivin told the newspaper that the decision was linked to the economic crisis and what he said was the unwillingness of banks to finance even very good projects.

"We're talking about a very large range of firms and assets which are good companies. There is Liverpool, NASCAR, the Canadiens and the Bell Center," Boivin said. Beauchamp confirmed that the quotes were accurate.


Boivin told La Presse there was a range of possible outcomes for Gillett's holdings.   Continued...

<p>Montreal Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak reacts to a Toronto Maple Leafs goal during the third period of NHL hockey action in Montreal, March 21, 2009. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>