RIM’s shot at Coyotes gets a jolt from judge
Originally set for today and limited to bidders wanting to keep the team in Glendale, Arizona, the auction of the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes has been postponed to give bidders more time to sort themselves out.
Unfortunately for creditors, the best bid by the dollar — a $212.5 million offer from Research in Motion co-Chief Executive James Balsillie — is currently off the ice. Balsillie wants to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.
The NHL is intent on keeping the team in Glendale, which has not proven to be much of a hockey town. Hamilton might show more promise, being just a short mushing from successful NHL teams in Detroit and Buffalo. But the ghosts of failed franchises elsewhere in Canada — the Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets — are likely to keep haunting the league. Indeed, particularly superstitious fans may start thinking evil spirits are following the Coyotes franchise, which migrated to Phoenix from Winnipeg, where it counted superstars Bobby Hull and Dale Howerchuck among its stars.
Of the qualified bidders, Ice Edge Holdings, a group of Canadian and U.S. businessmen, has offered up to $150 million, and Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of baseball’s Chicago White Sox and basketball’s Chicago Bulls, has offered up to $148 million. They are the ones who asked the court to give them more time to finalize their offers. But with more time, chances are the economic argument of Balsillie’s bigger bid will win out.
In a hearing on Monday, Judge Baum called Balsillie’s offer the “highest and best,” according to a spokesman for the RIM chief, and said he might consider an auction for bidders wanting to move the team. He is expected to decide that possibility Wednesday.