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Ottawa Senators 'officially for sale:' report


The Ottawa Senators have retained a bank to explore a sale of the team, sports business publication Sportico is reporting.

Late owner Eugene Melnyk’s family has hired Galatioti Sports Partners, a New York-based bank that provides advisory services to the sports industry. Sportico cited multiple people familiar with the plans, who were granted anonymity because the details are private.

Melnyk’s daughters Anna and Olivia took over the Senators after their father passed away in March due to illness. The franchise is being run by a three-person board of directors.

A Senators spokesperson told CTV News the organization has no comment on the report.

Sportico valued the Senators at $655 million U.S., a 21 per cent jump in the past year, the largest in the NHL.

It’s unclear how much the team would fetch in any potential sale. The Pittsburgh Penguins sold for a $900 million U.S. last year. The Nashville Predators are set to sell for $775 million U.S.

There is reportedly significant interest in the Senators. Roger Greenberg, the executive chairman of Minto Group and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, told CTV News in April his family would “likely participate” in new ownership if the team goes up for sale. OSEG owns the Redblacks and 67's.

In June, the Senators and the National Capital Commission reached a memorandum of understanding to build a new arena for the team at LeBreton Flats, just west of downtown Ottawa.

Eben Novy-Williams, the Sportico reporter who broke the story, said there was an expectation in the hockey and sports investment world that the Senators would hit the market in the near future.

“I think we’re weeks and maybe even months away from formal bids and getting a real sense of who is interested, and maybe more importantly where those bidders are located,” he told CTV News. “Now that there’s a banker, there’s people from them to reach out to and start the formal process.”

A new stadium at LeBreton Flats will be key for any potential buyer, Novy-Williams said. He also noted that NHL valuations have been growing across the board.

“There’s never been a better time to sell the Ottawa Senators than right now. I’m sure that’s part of the decision-making process right now for the Melnyks,” he said. “Valuations are soaring, and as a result they’re going to get something probably close to an NHL record for this team when they do finally pull the trigger and sell it.”

And although the news on Tuesday set off speculation about whether the franchise will stay in Ottawa—including long-held rumours that Houston Rockets owners Tillman Fertitta would like an NHL franchise in that city—Novy-Williams said he believes the team isn’t going anywhere.

“I would be shocked if this team is not in Ottawa. It’s a good market, it’s Canadian market … I think unless there isn’t a single Canadian or Ottawa group that is offering a competitive number, I’m 90, 95 per cent sure this team stays.”

Members of Galatioto Sports Partners have been involved in more than 100 transactions for major North American and international sports franchises, according to its website.

Sportico launched in June 2020 and calls itself “the default resource for professionals seeking the latest and highest quality news and information in the $500 billion worldwide sports industry.” Top Stories

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