LOS ANGELES -- A group headed by Howard Baldwin, former
owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers, has offered
to buy the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, a source familiar with the deal
told The Associated Press.
Reached by the AP on Friday, Baldwin declined comment, other
than to say, "I'm always interested in the NHL."
But the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Baldwin
and his partners have made an offer. The source would not disclose
Baldwin is among three possible suitors for the team owned by The Walt Disney Co., according to the Los Angeles Times. Texas businessman David McDavid, who nearly purchased the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers and NBA's Atlanta Hawks, and Henry Samueli, whose company operates the Arrowhead Pond, are also interested, separate sources told the newspaper.
The Times said Baldwin is believed to have offered $50 million --
the figure Disney paid for the Ducks to join the NHL as an
expansion franchise in 1992. Baldwin's bid would be financed and
might require Disney to defer payment of some of the purchase
price, a source familiar with the negotiations told the Times.
It is uncertain whether Disney would accept such an offer.
Baldwin owned the Penguins from 1992 to 1998 and founded the Whalers and served as managing general partner of the franchise for 17
years. He also was part owner of the Minnesota North Stars.
The Mighty Ducks have been on the market for years. Baldwin's
interest in buying the Ducks might coincide with efforts to build a
new arena in Kansas City. Tim Leiweke, vice president of the
Anschutz Entertainment Group, which will invest $50 million in that
arena, has said it would have an "anchor tenant," either an NHL
or NBA team.
The Ducks would need to give Anaheim officials two years' notice
of their intention to move, plus pay damages for early lease
termination. The earliest the team could move would be 2007, which
is when the Kansas City arena is scheduled to open.