July 25, 2009 / 3:54 AM / 8 years ago

NHL's Phoenix Coyotes draw 1 bid, 1 letter: lawyer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes, being auctioned in U.S. bankruptcy court, had drawn only one bid and one letter of intent by late Friday, said a lawyer for Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes.

<p>Phoenix Coyotes Shane Doan (C) celebrates with Kyle Turris (L) and Peter Mueller after scoring in the second period against the Vancouver Canucks during an NHL game in Glendale, Arizona, March 21, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri</p>

The Coyotes have drawn a bid from Chicago White Sox baseball team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, an offer that is not to exceed $148 million, said Thomas Salerno, a lawyer with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP.

The Reinsdorf bid is closer to $120 million, and it involves no cash but the assumption of debt, Solerno said.

The Coyote’s also drew a non-binding letter of intent from Ice Edge Holdings LLC, Solerno said. He added the group’s letter did not comply by the court’s orders and was not a bid.

Final bids were due by the end of Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Arizona, even as the team disclosed it continued to lose money last season.

The Coyotes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, and an auction that is limited to bidders who will keep the team in the Phoenix area is scheduled for August 5.

If the bid by Reinsdorf or any others are deemed inadequate, a second auction would be held on September 10 and open to bidders who have the option to relocate the team.

Reinsdorf’s offer was conditional on winning a new lease for the Coyotes’ home arena and winning concessions from creditors.

The Coyotes lost $67.1 million last season, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

When the hockey team filed for bankruptcy, Canadian billionaire James Balsillie, co-chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, offered to buy the team for $212.5 million on the condition that it relocate to Ontario.

The NHL, however, has been adamant about keeping the team in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb.

Balsillie has argued the Coyotes, who are coached and partly owned by hockey’s all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky, can not be profitable in the Phoenix area.

The team have never made a profit since moving to Arizona from Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 1996.

The case is in Re: Dewey Ranch Hockey LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Arizona, No. 09-09488.

Editing by Matthew Lewis and Greg Stutchbury

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