Sale of Hurricanes to Tom Dundon Almost Complete

Multiple news sources have reported that current Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos met with prospective buyer Tom Dundon prior to a Board of Governors meeting on Thursday and were invited by Gary Bettman to present their proposal of the sales of the Carolina Hurricanes to Dundon following the Governors meeting in West Palm Beach. Florida. The two sides presented their structure for the sale of the Hurricanes and a decision is expected to be reached as early as this afternoon.

The structure of the sale would see Karmanos retain 48% of the Carolina franchise and stay on as a minority owner. Despite rumors of relocation, Karmanos noted that it was important to find a new owner that would keep the team in Raleigh. Dundon, for his part, said he was happy right where the team is. Both sides were aware that the NHL is not prone to moving franchises and likely wouldn’t have allowed a sale under any circumstances.

Karmanos told TSN on Thursday, “It was very important [to find a buyer who would keep the team in Raleigh].” “But, it was never a real consideration, the consideration was ‘Am I going to buy a franchise that operates in Raleigh,’ not ‘Buy a franchise I can perhaps move somewhere else.’ The league is not amenable to moving franchises at all.

Texas businessman Thomas Dundon will own 52% and the sale is expected to include an option to buy the remaining 48% in three years. While both sides shot down the idea of moving the teams, many are asking if this deal could open the door to possible relocation down the road but the reality is, the NHL would rather sell a new franchise than move an old one as expansion fees and revenues far exceed those which exist when relocating a franchise. The team is in no danger of moving anytime in the near future. All sides believe there is a future in North Carolina and that the team can be profitable there.

Pierre LeBrun is reporting, “For the purpose of the purchase agreement, Hurricanes are being valued at just under 500 million with Dundon buying 52 percent of the team but it sounds like his buy-in isn’t total cash, also includes taking on some debt.”

Related: Greenberg to Purchase Hurricanes for $500 Million

Speculation is that the team was valued somewhere around the $500 million mark thanks to earlier sale discussions with a different prospective buyer, that being Chuck Greenberg – co-owner of the Texas Rangers. It was determined Greenberg was not the right fit for the team and the NHL.

KeyArena Seattle NHL
Artist Rendering of renovated KeyArena in Seattle Washington. (Photo – Office of the Mayor, Seattle, WA)

The news about the sale of the Carolina Hurricanes was just one of the big topics being discussed at the Board of Governors meetings. While not officially on the agenda, speculation is that discussions about the NHL expanding into the Seattle market will be front and center this weekend. There is considerable interest on the part of the NHL to put a team in that market, an ownership group interested and plenty of corporate dollars with no other winter sport competing with a potential NHL team.

Between expansion, the potential approval of a Hurricane’s sale and other news coming out the Governors meetings, this could be a big 36-48 hours for the NHL. If there was any concern from fans in Carolina, that they might be losing their team, it looks as though they can finally relax. Most everyone expects the NHL to approve this sale quickly.