Alternatives to Katz bid must be considered, chairman Butler says
For the time being, local drugstore tycoon Darryl Katz still wants to be a single owner of his hometown NHL team, but the shareholders’ board chairman now says they could be looking at other options.
The group of investors that owns the Edmonton Oilers met behind closed doors for nearly four hours yesterday to review the Katz offer, but chairman Bill Butler says all alternatives to the offer need to be looked at.
"We will be putting forward other alternatives that shareholders may wish to consider," he said last night. "Those alternatives would be the considerations with regard to existing shareholders who wish to remain as part of the community ownership model."
Katz has given shareholders a Jan. 31 deadline and Butler denied reports yesterday that a small group of investors are pitching a competing offer to buy the team that could also be backed by the Bank of Nova Scotia.
Earlier this month, Butler said the team’s board of directors would recommend to shareholders that they reject Katz’ $188-million offer until the Forbes-listed billionaire agrees in writing to invest $100-million towards a new rink to replace Rexall Place, along with vowing not to move the team.
Some shareholders, however, said they support Katz’s latest offer to buy the team, causing a split among owners who saved the team from being shipped out of town ten years ago.
Terry Bean, who attended the meeting on behalf of his father, Ed, told reporters that the Katz offer is a fair one.
"It’s time," he said. "I think we’re going to stick with Daryl’s offer. That’s my personal opinion."
Katz needs 60 per cent of the shares to control the team, and according to some media reports, he already has 68 per cent.
His latest offer also comes with endorsements from former Oiler greats like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and former general manager Glen Sather.