NHL Coyotes owner disputes Reinsdorf bid viability

Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:22pm EDT
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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The owner of the Phoenix Coyotes disputes the viability of a bid by sports tycoon Jerry Reinsdorf to buy the bankrupt National Hockey League team.

The bid filed by Reinsdorf, a part-time Arizona resident who owns the Chicago White Sox baseball and Chicago Bulls basketball teams, "cannot be approved as a matter of law," and "there are no qualified bidders" based on criteria set by the court, according to motions filed on Thursday by Thomas Salerno, the attorney for Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes.

Also on Thursday, the city of Glendale, a Phoenix suburb where the Coyotes play, and the National Hockey League each asked Judge Redfield Baum to delay the August 5 auction for bidders who want to keep the money-losing team in Arizona.

The city and league both argued that the potential bidders need more time to finalize their offers.

The Coyotes filed for bankruptcy in May, and Moyes said he had a deal to sell the club for $212.5 million to Research in Motion Ltd co-CEO Jim Balsillie, who wants to move the team to southern Ontario in Canada.

The NHL has resisted the team's relocation, saying it can succeed in Arizona. Reinsdorf has bid up to $148 million for the Coyotes, while another group, Ice Edge Holdings, has offered up to $150 million in a letter of intent. Both groups have stated they would keep the team in Arizona.

The filings by Moyes, Glendale and the NHL came a day after NHL owners rejected Balsillie's ownership application, approved Reinsdorf's, and said Ice Edge's was "incomplete" but that it could continue efforts to finalize its bid.

On Friday, Ice Edge filed a purchase agreement, but also asked for more time to conduct further due diligence, arrange its financing and negotiate with Glendale officials.

Glendale requested the auction be postponed to early or mid-September. The NHL and Ice Edge asked the judge to shift the date to September 10, which is currently reserved for a second auction open to bidders who could move the team if the court deemed the initial round of bids inadequate.   Continued...

<p>Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf attends a team practice for Game 1 of the World Series in Chicago October 21, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>