Bloomberg is reporting that Devils owner Jeffrey Vanderbeek has hired an investment bank to oversee the sale of the team and has sent out letters to prospective buyers soliciting interest. Vanderbeek, who’d worked for Lehman Brothers for twenty years — and had been a Devils season-ticket holder for fifteen years — before purchasing the team, paid $125 million for the franchise back in 2004. (Forbes now values it at $218 million.) Some questions the report raises: Would Devils fans be spared talk of relocation since the team now plays in a modern arena — and a pretty darn nice one at that? Would this affect the Devils’ chances to lock up Zach Parise, who becomes a restricted free agent after the season? And, even though Mikhail Prokhorov reiterated just this week that he’s not interested in buying another sports team, is it worth taking another look at the Globe and Mail report that Vanderbeek had pitched Prokhorov on the idea of buying the Devils last summer, and that the re-signing of Ilya Kovalchuk was “core to the pitch”?
Update: Vanderbeek has released the following statement:
“As Managing Member of the New Jersey Devils, it is not my desire to sell the team. My partner, Brick City, and I have different visions for the franchise. While Brick City has a right, under our partnership agreement, to explore a sale and Moag and Co. has been retained to assist in these effort, I anticipate maintaining a controlling interest.”