Local businessmen Doug Miller and Chuck Greenberg will not bid to purchase the Stars, meaning the door is open for Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi to become the new owner.
A complex group of lenders is trying to sell the Stars, and Gaglardi has made a $267 million "stalking horse" bid that is part of a prepackaged bankruptcy hearing in a Delaware court. The court proceedings are needed to help make sure there are not further lawsuits from the 40 lenders, some of whom might not be paid.
As part of the proceedings, the court allows other bidders to put in bids that would trigger an auction in November. The deadline to submit a bid is Saturday, and Miller and Greenberg had been working feverishly to get their bids in on time. However, both said Friday that they have alerted the courts and lenders that they are out of the bidding process.
"We will not bid," said Greenberg, the Dallas-area sports entrepreneur who helped Nolan Ryan and the current Rangers ownership group buy the team in bankruptcy court last summer.
"I'm taking a pass," said Miller, the local petroleum executive who has long funded youth hockey and is the owner of the CHL's Allen Americans.
Greenberg said he had been working on a long-term plan for the team's rebirth, and that plan had to include a long-term local media package. The Stars' current local television contract with Fox Sports Southwest expires after the 2013-14 season.
"From the beginning, a central component of our turnaround plan was to lock in our media rights for the future," Greenberg said. "There are three legs to the stool, and that's a passionate fan base, a healthy league and a secure local media contract. With only two legs on the stool right now, that just couldn't work. We needed the long-term security of the media contract to be able to move the team forward."
Miller said that he and his investors could not put together a plan that did not include the Stars losing $30 million-$35 million this season. The Stars' attendance is down substantially, and the team likely will not get all of its usual shared revenue at American Airlines Center because of the NBA lockout.
"That's just too big of a hole to dig out of," Miller said. "We had all sorts of plans to fill the building at reduced prices, sell a ton of concessions and reduce that loss to maybe $10 million, but it's just not possible this year.
"Our hope was the turnaround might be a year or two, but when you look at where they are right now, it seems much longer than that."
Gaglardi declined comment when reached, saying he has to respect the court process.
The Delaware court will address the situation Monday and could continue to hold fast to the schedule that there still is a 30-day wait before the sale is completed. Or it could waive the wait and move forward more quickly. In addition, the NHL Board of Governors' first chance at official approval would not come until December.