A week after rumors emerged that the NHL would take control of the New Jersey Devils, it appears that the franchise will have a new set of owners in place by the end of the week.
Tom Gulitti of The Record has reported that an ownership group led by Philadelphia 76ers owner Joshua Harris are nearing a deal to purchase the Devils from current owner Jeff Vanderbeek. The only hurdle left remaining is a Board of Governors vote that will occur on Thursday.
If the current set of rumors play out accordingly, the new ownership would pay “well in excess of $300 million”. For that hefty price tag (the Devils were valued at $205 million in 2012) they would not only receive the New Jersey Devils, but they would also take control of the Prudential Center.
The end of the Jeff Vanderbeek era in New Jersey had become an inevitability as of late. After refinancing over $170 million worth of debt in December of 2012 and buying out his fellow partners, he stated that the future of the franchise was ‘now secure’. Four months later he missed the first interest payment of nearly $3 million and suddenly defaulting on the franchises loans became a reality.
This is the second time in the span of one month where a potential ownership group has seen the finish line in New Jersey. Philadelphia lawyer Anthony Barroway was also in the process of purchasing the floundering team in July. His offer had been accepted by the Board of Governors but Barroway allowed the offer to expire after having a closer look at the books. He did however lend the Devils $30 million so they could make payroll.
This is great news for one of the league’s most successful franchises on the ice. After suffering through a disappointing 2013 season and the retirement of Kovalchuk, they’ll finally be able to move forward with their future in solid hands.