The Carolina Hurricanes might have three more potential buyers.
Team president Don Waddell said Wednesday that talks with Texas-based sports attorney Chuck Greenberg have slowed and that other possible buyers have emerged, including Dallas businessman Tom Dundon.
“The Greenberg thing had been ongoing, as we all know,” Waddell said. “It has slowed down. We haven’t heard back from Chuck in a while. We believe he is actively trying to find investors.
“But there are other groups that have now stepped forward and taking hard looks at the franchise. Obviously, Tom Dundon’s name came out today, a Dallas businessperson who has a lot of interest.”
Greenberg said Wednesday that he remained interested in purchasing the Hurricanes and had been in contact as recently as this week with Allen & Co., which is managing the sale for Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr., but acknowledged that he still had not raised the necessary funds to buy the team.
“In late September, we had made a lot of progress getting the equity, but we weren’t all the way there,” Greenberg said. “Pete told me he felt the value had gone up, and he wanted to test the market by talking to other buyers. Given the amount of time throughout which we’d been having our discussions, I completely understood. After all, it’s his team and his prerogative. Since that time, the last eight or nine weeks, he and his representatives have been talking to other buyers. I’ve been talking to other potential investors.”
Canadian media outlet RDS first reported Wednesday that Dundon may have an interest in either acquiring the team from Karmanos or becoming a partner with Karmanos.
Waddell said Dundon attended one of the Canes’ preseason exhibition games this year and has toured PNC Arena. He also said there are two other interested groups in addition to the Greenberg group and Dundon.
“All are committed to keeping the team in Raleigh,” Waddell said.
Waddell said all interested groups also expressed interest in keeping Karmanos involved with the franchise. He said Karmanos could be a part of the ownership but said whether he would remain majority owner is “yet to be determined.”
Waddell said the letter of intent with the Greenberg group was non-binding and had expired.
“If he came back to the table, he would be one of the pursuers,” Waddell said. “Right now we’re meeting with other groups and talking to other people. It’s wide open.”
Karmanos, who has owned the franchise since 1994, has said he is willing to sell the team and has mentioned a price of between $450 million and $500 million.
Karmanos also has said that other groups were interested if the Greenberg group’s bid fell through. In an interview in October, Karmanos said he believed Greenberg was having trouble putting together an investment group to raise the money.
Dundon, a billionaire, shouldn’t have that problem. He served as CEO and president of Santander Consumer USA, one of the nation’s largest subprime auto lenders, until July 2015. It was reported by Auto Finance News this month that Santander Consumer, which Dundon founded in 1995, agreed to pay Dundon more than $700 million in an exit deal.
Dundon now is managing partner at Dundon Capital Partners LLC and is CEO and president of Dundon Capital Acquisition Corp. in Dallas. Attempts to reach Dundon for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Dundon was one of the developers in the creation of Trinity Forest Golf Club in southeast Dallas. The course was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, who oversaw the many changes to Pinehurst No. 2 before the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open.
The PGA Tour selected Trinity Forest to host the AT&T Bryon Nelson, scheduled in May, as the tour shifted the tournament from TPC Las Colinas. Dundon is also a primary investor in the Top Golf national golf-entertainment chain; the closest location is in Charlotte.
Karmanos told The News & Observer last month that negotiations were continuing with Greenberg but that he had questions as to whether he would be able to form an investment group capable of raising the amount needed to buy the team.
“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.”
Greenberg 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.
“We’re still very much in the process,” Greenberg said, “and it hasn’t been sold yet, and we’ll see what happens.”