"We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel," Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement in early June. "After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options."
According to some, those options may include an $850 million price tag in a bid expected next week, turning a handsome profit after the two rescued the Penguins out of bankruptcy in 1999. Not a bad investment for a guy who couldn't get paid by the Penguins because of their bankruptcy. So while an expansion franchise would be nice for some investors, wouldn't the Penguins be more enticing? After all, they have a couple of world-class superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, some all-star contributors in Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Phil Kessel, and Patric Hornqvist, a new arena in the Consol Energy Center that has seen 377 consecutive home games sold out, and the land that the former Mellon Arena sat on awaiting development.
Seems like that would be the wiser investment, no?
According to Forbes' valuation of NHL franchises, the Penguins ranked in at a worth of $565 million, but both the NHL and the team feel that valuation is low. Even at a conservative $600 million, Lemieux and Burkle are looking at a massive profit. By retaining a portion of ownership, Lemieux has stated he would like to retain a title and position with the Penguins as well as having access to a luxury box at Consol Energy Center. Honestly, for a guy who saved the Penguins twice and has seen three Stanley Cups with the team, I don't think he has anything to worry about. Nevertheless, it's encouraging to see Lemieux wanting to be a part of the Penguins going forward.
Reports have a potential offer being made next week for the Penguins. There could be a new owner in Pittsburgh sooner than we think.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!