Reports are that Chuck Greenberg, former CEO and partnership owner of the Texas Rangers baseball organization, is set to purchase the Carolina Hurricanes of the NHL for approximately $500 million. The deal means Greenberg will be paying close to double Forbes value of the franchise and about what Bill Foley paid to bring the Vegas Golden Knights to the NHL.
According to Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick, the deal would keep the Hurricanes in Carolina under the new ownership.
— Scott Soshnick (@soshnick) July 13, 2017
Current Hurricanes Ownership Ready to Sell
Peter Karmanos Jr. is currently the majority owner of the Hurricanes, having taken over the team in 1994 when they were then known as the Hartford Whalers. At the time, he purchased the team for $47.5 million. He moved the franchise to Raleigh, North Carolina ahead of the 1997-98 season and now owns the team along with 18 minority investors, among them current general manager Ron Francis.
Outside of a Stanley Cup win in 2006, the Hurricanes haven’t seen much success. They’ve made the postseason just once since their championship in 2009 and the Hurricanes finished the 2016-17 season a bottom-ten team. Karmanos told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun earlier this year he was willing to sell the team, especially after the passing of his former partner Thomas Thewes in 2008.
WRAL’s Jeff Gravely reports Karmanos has signed a letter of intent to sell the team to Greenberg and speculation is, the current minority owners will be offered the option of remaining in partnership with Greenberg after the proposed sale closes. If this deal goes through, Karmanos will have made quite the return on his investment.
Who Is Chuck Greenberg?
Greenberg left the Texas Rangers in 2011 after seven months as CEO and two seasons as a part owner of the team. He is currently is a sports attorney, chairman and founder of the Greenberg Sports Group, and owner of three minor league baseball teams. To Carolina residents, he is known as the owner of the Carolina League’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Greenberg has a history in minor league baseball for turning struggling franchises around and setting new attendance records, winning awards and making his teams some of the most fan-friendly environments to watch a game. The hope in Carolina is that he can provide a much-needed boost to the Hurricanes organization.
Greenberg’s history with the Rangers was a bit more mixed. He was seen as extremely personable and smart, caring and fan-oriented but his time as owner also came under some scrutiny. He was forced to apologize to New York Yankee fans after disparaging remarks he made regarding their behavior during the 2010 World Series.
On March 11, 2011, Greenberg announced that he was stepping down as Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Rangers. He sold his interest in the Rangers and was no longer associated with the franchise.
The key to this potential sale is that the Hurricanes will not be moving out of Carolina. After rumors and speculation that the city of Quebec was in play and that the Hurricanes might be the team to relocate there, this is welcome news for fans and the NHL. It solidifies what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said and it appears now there will be a paper trail to go along with it.