10:25pm: Trump has been chosen to advance to the next round of bidding to purchase the Bills, a person familiar with the sale selection process told Mike Wawrow of The Associated Press.
2:54pm: Regardless of the actual figures submitted on Tuesday, initial reports on the differential between the top two bidders have the Bon Jovi group discouraged about being successful as currently constructed, tweets Graham.
1:31pm: Since initial bids for the Bills were collected on Tuesday, various reports and rumors have attempted to place a figure on the bids from the two main contenders, Buffalo Sabers owner Terry Pegula and the Toronto-based group led by Jon Bon Jovi. Although $1.3 billion has been cited as Pegula’s bid, and the Bon Jovi group is said to be in the $1.2 billion neighborhood, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News (Twitter link) hears from two sources “deeply plugged into” the sale process that every number reported so far has been wrong.
According to Graham (Twitter link), those sources specified that the $1.2 billion figure linked to the Bon Jovi/Larry Tanenbaum/Rogers family group is “quite higher than reality.” John Kryk of the Toronto Sun hears a similar story from his own sources, suggesting that $1.2 billion may be the limit for that Toronto group, but that the initial bid is more likely to be in the $800-900MM range. Kryk adds that if Pegula is actually willing to go up to $1.3 billion – or if he’s done so already – the Toronto group may not be able to match such an offer.
Still, based on Graham’s report, it seems unlikely that the Sabres owner submitted such a high number off the bat. In another tweet, Graham notes that Tuesday’s submissions were non-binding bids and that it’s unlikely that any player in the mix has shown his full hand yet. In other words, while the initial offers for the franchise may not have been as high as $1.2 or $1.3 billion, it’s possible that they could work there way up to that point eventually.
One potential roadblock for the Toronto group, as Kryk details, is Bon Jovi’s desire to be the lead bidder in the collective. To meet the NFL’s 30% principal-ownership threshold, the rock star would have to put up at least $360MM on a theoretical bid of $1.2 billion, which would be a significant percentage of his reported net worth ($500MM). As such, it seems at this point that Pegula is in the driver’s seat, though as Graham cautions, the process remains in its early stages.
Donald Trump was the third contender to submit a bid for the franchise on Tuesday, though – by his own admission – he seems like a long shot to ultimately win out.