NHL

Report: Devils, Kings both for sale

The LA Kings could be playing for a new owner come next season.
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Investors with an appetite for a high-profile but probable money-losing acquisition can likely buy some or all of both the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings — two NHL teams that just happen to meet Wednesday night in the Stanley Cup Final.

One team has to win and both owners are looking to sell.

Philip Anschutz-controlled AEG Corporation, which owns the Kings and the Kings' home arena Staples Center, and its CEO Tim Leiweke, have started marketing the team by directly calling suitors, a source told the New York Post.

A few years ago, the Kings first put themselves up for sale seeking more than $200 million, but now likely will accept less, the source said.

Anschutz bought the Kings in 1995 for $113 million.

Leiweke said, "We are getting approached by a few people now due to our success, the Dodgers’ value and the roll LA Live [an entertainment complex across the street from Staples Center] is on."

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While offers have come in, Leiweke denied he was peddling the franchise. "Nothing to it [sale rumors]," he said.

An NHL spokesperson called the report of a Kings sale "categorically untrue."

The Kings are expected to make "a major announcement" next week, according to a person familiar with the team, but the subject could not be learned.

Meanwhile, the Devils owe lenders an $80 million principal payment July 1. Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek is in talks with an investor to pump money into the team to refinance the debt.

Previous talks with different potential investors have fallen through, however, and the NHL was forced to advance the money-losing Devils about $10 million this season.

Should the current talks fall apart, one savvy investor could potentially get a Cup in their portfolio.

So far, despite the Devils' unexpected run to the finals, there has been no significant improvement in the team’s long-term financial picture.

True, the Devils' $20 million regular-season loss will be erased because of the added revenue from the deep postseason run and it will probably ring up an added $7 million in revenue next season from increased sponsorship deals and ticket sales, sources said, but the staggering long-term debt remains.

Even if it approaches the break-even mark again next year, with help from a new collective bargaining agreement, the team still owes too much money, $177 million, to outside lenders.

The Devils declined to comment.

Tagged: Kings, Devils

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