Just a day after news broke that the Melnyk family has retained the services of a bank to explore the possibility of selling the Ottawa Senators, rumblings linking potential bidders are already growing loud.
According to the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch, Toronto-based brothers Jeffrey and Michael Kimel have "expressed an interest" in buying the team if and when it goes up for sale.
The Kimels, who owned a minority stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins until the franchise was sold last year, are on the board of venture capitalist firm Harlo Financial, which invests fairly heavily in the entertainment industry.
Garrioch added that Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer, whose conglomerate owns and operates multiple logistic and transportation companies throughout Canada, may have "kicked tires" on buying the Senators previously. Aside from his business empire, Andlauer also owns the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs along with 20 percent of the Montreal Canadiens.
Montreal-based billionaire André Desmarais, who was connected to a group bidding for a new arena near Ottawa's LeBreton Flats in 2016, could also emerge as a potential suitor, Garrioch added.
As far as any potential local buyers go, Garrioch, citing sources with knowledge of the league's inner-workings, says it's not believed that anybody based in or around Ottawa has the ability to purchase the team as a solo buyer at this time, and would need partners or a group to go in with them.
The Senators are reportedly expected be put up for sale by Anna and Olivia Melnyk, the daughters of late Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, in the next month or so, according to Garrioch.
Melnyk, who owned the Senators from 2003 until his passing, died in March at the age of 62 after a lengthy battle with an undisclosed illness and left the franchise to his daughters.
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