A new suitor has emerged in the quest to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes.
A source familiar with the situation confirmed to FOX Sports Arizona late Wednesday that AltaCorp Capital chairman and CEO George Gosbee is working with long-involved suitor Anthony LeBlanc on a proposal that will be presented to the NHL within the next week. The two are part of what the source believes is the lead group in the attempt to purchase the long-rudderless franchise for the NHL’s continued asking price of $170 million.
Darren Dreger of TSN reported Wednesday night that the NHL is continuing to fight to keep the club in Glendale, but short of a deal soon, a decision to relocate the Coyotes to another city could come before the playoffs begin April 30. Quebec City, Seattle and Kansas City are among the cities mentioned as possibilities.
The source said the group is aware of that timeline and believes it can hammer out a deal in that time frame. The deal would keep the Coyotes in Glendale, and although it is expected that any group purchasing the team would seek an out clause to relocate if it cannot remedy the franchise’s long-standing financial issues, the source said an such a clause “hasn’t been discussed” to this point.
Any deal would also have to include a new arena-lease agreement with the city of Glendale. What the city is willing to chip in will be a vital building block in this deal, as will the length of the deal, with reports of anywhere from 10 to 12 years.
“We are going to pay to run that arena regardless, whether the Coyotes are here or not,” Glendale City Councilwoman Yvonne Knaack said recently. “And that could be anywhere from $6 (million) to $10 million on operating and then maybe another $9 million on debt.”
Glendale has $6.5 million budgeted for the arena in 2014.
The plan for the Gosbee-LeBlanc group is to see if it can hammer out a deal with the NHL before even approaching Glendale about a lease agreement.
Gosbee’s career spans 20 years in corporate finance, investment banking and global capital markets. Prior to founding AltaCorp Capital in 2010, he was Chairman, President and CEO of Tristone Capital Global Inc., a global energy investment firm which he founded in 2000. His current firm, AltaCorp Capital, is a new Canadian investment bank that is partnered with Alberta Treasury Branch, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Government of Alberta.
Gosbee is also Vice Chair of Alberta Investment Management Co., a $70 billion institutional investment fund. He is on the Canadian Minister of Finance’s Economic Advisory Council that was formed during the economic crisis in 2008, is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and a director of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. He is also a former board member of Chrysler Group LLC in Detroit, where he served on behalf of both the Canadian federal and provincial (Ontario) governments to oversee their collective investment in the company.
In 2009, Gosbee was honored as one of 200 Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum for his professional accomplishments and community commitments. He has received the Haskayne School of Business’ Distinguished Alumni Award and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for the Prairie Region by Ernst and Young. He has been named one of Canada’s 40 Under 40 by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business and one of Canada’s Most Influential Businessmen by Canadian Business Magazine.
Gosbee has a B.A. from the University of Calgary, where he specialized in finance and petroleum land management.
LeBlanc, the CEO at Lakehead Yale Sports Holding, is the founder of Ice Edge Holdings, a group that has sought to purchase the Coyotes with a number of different investment groups.
According to the source, there are no other key members of this group with whom Coyotes fans might be familiar because of previous attempts to buy the team, name recognition or some form of association with the team, although Ice Edge Holdings member Daryl Jones is still part of the group. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter