Balsillie raises bid for Phoenix Coyotes to $242.5 million

Wed Sep 9, 2009 9:40am EDT
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By Ajay Kamalakaran

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Research in Motion Ltd Co-Chief Executive James Balsillie increased his bid for the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes ice hockey team by $30 million to $242.5 million, court documents showed.

The revised bid, which was made in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix on Monday, includes better terms for Glendale, Arizona, where the Coyotes are based.

Balsillie offered Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix, $50 million for its claims to address concerns and mitigate losses connected with the relocation of the team.

The Canadian billionaire had offered to pay $212.5 million for the money-losing Coyotes in May when the team filed for bankruptcy protection, on condition that he would be allowed to move the franchise to the Canadian province of Ontario.

But the National Hockey League (NHL) and Balsillie have locked heads over his plans.

In July, the NHL deemed Balsillie's offer inadmissible, saying he lacked the "good character and integrity" to own a franchise, according to a court filing. NHL owners voted 26-0 to reject Balsillie as a potential owner.

Balsillie has clashed with the NHL in recent years in attempts to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators franchises to move a hockey team to Canada.

Judge Redfield Baum of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix had asked both parties to send briefs to Flagstaff, Arizona, for him to review over the long Labor Day weekend. Baum did not specify when he would make his decision.   Continued...

<p>Canadian billionaire James Balsillie speaks to reporters outside the U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court after a hearing in Phoenix, Arizona, September 2, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>