The Canes' Scott Darling (33) and Jaccob Slavin (74) defend the Lightning's Nikita Kucherov (86) during the third period of an NHL game played between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena on Oct. 24, 2017. The Lightning beat the Canes 5-1. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com
The Canes' Scott Darling (33) and Jaccob Slavin (74) defend the Lightning's Nikita Kucherov (86) during the third period of an NHL game played between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena on Oct. 24, 2017. The Lightning beat the Canes 5-1. Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

Carolina Hurricanes

Canes owner Karmanos challenges would-be buyer to come up with the money

By Chip Alexander

calexander@newsobserver.com

October 27, 2017 12:56 PM

Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said Friday that negotiations continue with sports attorney Chuck Greenberg over the proposed sale of the NHL team.

But Karmanos, in an interview, said he has questions as to whether Greenberg will be able to form an investment group capable of raising the amount needed to buy the team – perhaps $500 million or more.

The Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos speaks to the media at PNC Arena on July 1, 2015.
Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

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“The sale of the team is just sitting there, waiting for Chuck to say, ‘Geez, I can’t raise the money,’ ” Karmanos said. “We have a commitment to Chuck, and we’re going to see it through. And quite frankly I wish he would pick up the phone and say, ‘Geez, you know what, I can’t get it done.’ Because it looks like he can’t get it done.”

Asked if he believed Greenberg would be able to pull together a group of investors capable of completing the sale, Karmanos said, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

In the past few days, those close to the negotiations have said some complications have arisen and the process has snagged.

Karmanos laughed when asked about potential complications, saying, “I’m telling you, he can’t raise the money. That’s the complication.”

Chuck Greenberg, who is leading a group that hopes to buy the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team, was in Raleigh at Raleigh Center Ice on July 24, 2017.
Chris Seward cseward@newsobserver.com

Greenberg, a Texas-based attorney, is the former CEO of the Texas Rangers and an owner of minor-league baseball teams, including the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. He has not identified others who are interested in being in the ownership group but has traveled to Raleigh often to talk to potential investors.

In an interview in August, Karmanos said there was a term sheet with Greenberg but no purchase agreement, saying the franchise sales price was between $450 million and $500 million. He indicated Friday the price would go higher as time passes.

“I have umpteen million people who have figured out Raleigh is a pretty good area, and it’s a pretty good team and pretty good market,” he said. “So if Chuck can’t deliver and I still want to sell the team, the price keeps going up.”

Greenberg has declined to comment on details about the proposed sale.

Karmanos, who first brought the franchise in 1994, said there are other interested parties other than Greenberg’s group.

“We have like a dozen different groups,” Karmanos said. “There’s solid interest all over the place.”

Karmanos said he can afford to “sit and wait” but again noted that at 74, with a wife and young children, he’s trying to “get some liquidity before I kick off.”

“I hope that doesn’t happen any time soon, but I want to be prepared if it does,” he added.

In terms of the Canes on the ice, Karmanos likes the team’s 4-3-1 start and especially the solid 6-3 road victory Thursday over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I don’t think even the hockey people understand how good we really are, and we’ve been getting all positive stuff,” he said. “We’ve very quietly built probably the best defense in the entire National Hockey League.

“We’ve got a winning record now, and we’ve played at least seven top contenders, and some would argue Dallas should be in that group, as well. Being where we’re at with (five) games on the road is refreshing.”

Chip Alexander: 919-829-8945, @ice_chip