Molson family loses CIT backing for Canadiens deal

Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:23pm EDT
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CHICAGO (Reuters) - CIT Group Inc, a 101-year-old lender fighting for survival, will not provide financing for the Molson family's deal to buy the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, a spokesman for the family said on Tuesday.

The Molson family, which agreed in June to buy the Canadiens for almost $575 million, has lost CIT's backing, but "we have made arrangements with other financial institutions," family spokesman Luc Beauregard said.

He declined to say what other firms would step in to replace CIT, but said the deal for the National Hockey League team, which has won 24 Stanley Cup championships, would not be delayed and is expected to close by the end of August.

A spokesman for CIT could not be reached to comment.

The Sports Business Journal previously reported that CIT had pulled out of a $225 million loan commitment to help the Molson family.

CIT, which lends to hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized firms including the NHL and other sports teams, is trying to restructure its balance sheet and has said it could still file for bankruptcy.

In addition to the Molson family's deal to buy the Canadiens, CIT has loaned money or arranged financing over the last few years for NHL teams in Edmonton, Ottawa, New Jersey, Nashville, Tennessee, and Dallas.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman; editing by Carol Bishopric)

<p>Montreal Canadiens Guillaume Latendresse (L) celebrates his first period goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs with team mates Maxim Lapierre (C) and Josh Gorges in their NHL game in Toronto April 4, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>