Hashing out the details


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A deal between True North Sports and Entertainment, the Atlanta Spirit ownership group and the NHL to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg is inching forward.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/05/2011 (4316 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A deal between True North Sports and Entertainment, the Atlanta Spirit ownership group and the NHL to move the Thrashers to Winnipeg is inching forward.

Sources involved in the negotiations said Thursday a number of items remain to be worked out. The earliest an announcement can be expected is next Tuesday.

The purchase price of $110 million for the Thrashers and a $60-million relocation fee going to the league are set. Details described as “consent, owner approval, proof of financial information, etc.” remain on the table.

“There are complex issues that take time to work through,” said a source.

Thrashers co-owner Michael Gearon told FOX Atlanta on Thursday the deal is “80 per cent complete,” with “mounds of paperwork,” still unfinished.

The Free Press enlisted David Dunlop, senior partner at McMillan Barristers and Solicitors in Toronto, one of Canada’s largest law firms to break down the legalese.

Here are some of Dunlop’s notes based on the information the Free Press was able to obtain on the status of the deal:


“Consent” is a contractual right of a party to approve something. In this case it could be the departing team’s owner(s) consenting to the sale (terms, conditions, price etc.), it could also be a consent requirement of a third party to the transaction — in this case the NHL as an NHL franchise is a licence granted by the NHL as franchisor to a holder as franchisee. That franchise licence is subject to certain obligations and restrictions as to transfer, including the consent of the NHL to permit a sale to a new owner (or ownership group) and likely consent regarding the “departure” arrangements of the exiting team (taking the “long life” approach as you never know when the NHL may want to have another franchise in that city). There may be other third parties with consent rights… .


“Owner approval” as noted above, may be approval of selling owners, buyer-side owners, NHL franchise owners — represented by the NHL Board of Governors to the departure arrangements of the existing team and the new owners and their future plans.


“Proof of financial information” may be required of the seller to disclose all liabilities and obligations owed by the seller or its NHL franchise and how they will be satisfied or proof that they are not an issue which will not become the liabilities and obligations of the buyer, it may also be a requirement that the seller or the NHL (or both) want proof of the financial strength of the buyer (may not be an issue here but the question is still appropriate and requires a considered response that can be validated in some way)… The NHL will want an owner that can weather financial stress over the long term. The NHL will also want to see a buyer that is well capitalized at this time, has ready additional sources of capital and real contingency plans if more funds are needed to continue operating the business.

— Lawless

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