Latest On Bills’ Sale

As Morgan Stanley, the investment firm tasked with heading the sale of the Bills franchise, continues to meet with bidders for the team, a few more details have surfaced regarding the latest developments in the process. Let’s dive in and round them up….

  • In an update, Graham notes that the Pritzker family, owner of Hyatt Hotels, could be a candidate to buy the Bills. The Bills trust met with the family as recently as this week, but it’s not known whether they signed a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Francesco Aquilini, chariman of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, expressed interest in purchasing the Bills, and even signed the required non-disclosure agreement in order to view the franchise’s financials. But, according to Graham, Aquilini and his family have removed themselves from consideration. “I’m always exploring potential business opportunities, and I’m passionate about sports. So this is something that interested me,” Aquilini said in a statement to the Buffalo News. “However, we are not planning to pursue the opportunity further.”

Earlier updates:

  • Another source confirms to Graham what he heard last week, that Terry Pegula‘s initial bid was far less than the $1.3 billion figure widely reported (Twitter link).
  • Former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly and bond investor Jeffrey Gundlach met with the franchise’s trust on Thursday, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. The duo is interested in getting involved in the purchase of the team, but Gundlach may not have the money to take the lead on making a bid himself, per Graham. As such, he and Kelly may look to catch on with another suitor as minority partners.
  • In a separate report for the Buffalo News, Graham writes that Jon Bon Jovi‘s group isn’t the only Canadian-based suitor involved in the process. Sources tell Graham that the Aquilini family (owners of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks) and John Bitove (founder of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and president of Toronto’s 2008 Olympic bid) at least signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Bills, though it’s not clear if they submitted actual bids.
  • Food-and-beverage magnate Dean Metropoulos, who was the runner-up to Shad Khan for the Jaguars in 2011, also signed the team’s non-disclosure agreement, says Graham. The Buffalo News scribe additionally identified the Chicago-based Pritzker family as a possible suitor, though it’s not clear if they signed a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Bon Jovi’s Toronto group had still not been invited to participate in the final phase of the sale as of Thursday, according to John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, who says the group has once again been asked to clarify its non-relocation intentions.
  • As for reports that up to eight bidders are now involved in the sale process, one source tells Kryk, “I don’t know if it’s real. We’re in weirdo world at this point.” Another was blunt with his skepticism, telling Kryk, “It’s all crap.”
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