Sale specifics emerge
In the end, the deal that everyone hopes finally will end the long, torturous saga of the sale of the Lightning, was one of necessity. With the global credit crisis making it difficult to nail down financing (Hollywood producer Oren Koules and his OK Hockey group lost two potential financing deals), Lightning owner Palace Sports & Entertainment decided to team with Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York sports investment bank whose president, Sal Galatioto, was trying to broker the sale of the team for Palace Sports.
Nobody is talking publicly about the details, but a few still emerged Tuesday. The complete story will be in Wednesday's paper, but here are a few highlights:
OK Hockey apparently has raised $100-million of the $200-million purchase price for the team, the St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5.5 acres near the stadium. Galatioto Sports Partners has agreed to add slightly less than $50-million. Palace Sports will hold an interest-bearing note for the rest.
OK Hockey would be responsible to pay the interest on the note.
Palace Sports would get $150-million up front (the $100-million from OK Hockey and about $50-million from GSP) and wait for GSP to find financing for OK Hockey to pay off the note. If the credit market does not thaw, in a worst-case scenario, though highly unlikely, Palace Sports could foreclose and return as owner with $150-million in its pocket as it tries to find another buyer. That certainly would help the bottom line given Palace Sports bought the team in the summer of 1999 for about $100-million and claims another $80-million in losses. More likely, though, it would extend the agreement and wait for the market to thaw.
Like I said, a more detailed version of this will run in tomorrow's paper. But thought the basics were interesting.