Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The EIG is no longer a group of 33 united individuals.

With another episode of an EIG personality & decision-making clash today, it's becoming more and more likely that either the team will be sold to Katz, or some members of the EIG will be bought out.

Here's a complete updated TSN story

This was Katz response

Some noteworthy quotes and snippets from today:

The Edmonton Investors Group held a formal meeting to discuss the bid to buy the NHL's Edmonton Oilers by businessman Daryl Katz and have recommended their shareholders to reject the drugstore billionaire's attempt to purchase the team.
However, the offer is far from dead as several major investors are not on the Board and would still like to sell to Katz. TSN has learned the board voted 6-4 to recommend rejection, but some of the bigger shareholders are known to support the latest offer.
The 33-member group stated their desire to know if Katz would be willing to sign an agreement to keep the Oilers in Edmonton. They also wanted Katz to discuss reports that have suggested he would be willing to spend up to $100 million on a new arena.

I had initially thought the EIG were just looking to make sure the sale included a written clause to keep the team in Edmonton and invest 100M in a new arena [referring to: ''reject the offer in it's current form'']. However, with members of the EIG [Nichols, Saville] among others endorsing Katz publicly, I don't feel that's the case. The guy was born here. Went to the U of A here. Built the largest house in Edmonton [25M]. Made the largest donation [7M] to the U of A in its history. Saved the Grand Prix of Edmonton when it was losing sponsors. Donates large sums to Strollery Children's Hospital. Bought a section of tickets for Tickets for Troops night. Ensured the Cash is King lottery would break even by purchasing large sums of lottery tickets when sales were struggling. I can't see the threat of Katz moving a concern to members of the EIG - it's beyond that, which I'll follow up on.

KATZ [voicing his frustration]

The board's conduct in recent days is confusing and I fail to see how it serves the best interests of (Oilers) shareholders,'' Katz said. "I have offered repeatedly to meet with the EIG Board of Directors, EIG shareholders - either individually or as a group - and with the professional advisors to any of the above to discuss my interest in acquiring the team and answer their questions."

I intend to respond to whatever valid questions the board has about my offer for the team, but I think they owe an equal duty to come clean about any involvement members of the board may have in fashioning an alternative bid, how much debt they plan to assume to retain ownership, and what commitments they are prepared to make to help secure a new arena.

BILL BUTLER, Current Chairman of EIG
Some shareholders are getting close to 80. They should be given rights to get out. As we move forward, what are the options? If we were to explore bank financing could we raise capital to buy out existing shareholders who want to sell. Other current investors are prepared to take a larger piece. Are there third parties who want to take a role?

Seems to me there's conflict in the group. Gregg and a few smaller shareholders are seeking to possibly buyout existing shareholders. This would require more debt financing, or equity financing in the form of new investors, which the NHL would subsequently have to approve.

Of course Butler was on CHED today, and threw out the obligatory, ''Doing what's best for the community'' catch phrase. What nonsense.

Dashingsilverfox on HF brought up a strong point:

Oh the irony...the EIG splinter group has managed to alienate a large portion of their fan base and the largest corporate sponsor (Daryl Katz) all in one ill-conceived and ill-timed news release.

I wonder who is giving these clowns media relations advice?

What happens to these guys when Katz takes his money elsewhere, should he not be successful in obtaining the team?

He won't step up for arena naming rights or buy a bundle of Cash is King lottery tickets either to ensure it breaks-even - that's for sure.

It's become a battle of pride - and it certainly isn't doing the Edmonton Oilers any good.

Quite simply put, what a mess.

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