Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Boston investor Jeff Vinik secures purchase agreement to buy Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning is on its way to having new ownership as Boston hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik on Friday secured a purchase agreement to buy the team, the St. Pete Times Forum lease and 5½ acres around the building.

The deal still has to close and Vinik needs approval from the NHL's Board of Governors for the transfer of ownership from OK Hockey. But because Vinik is paying cash and already has been vetted by the league, those are considered formalities and expected to be done in two to four weeks, when Vinik will officially take over the team.

He will be a sole proprietor, meaning OK Hockey co-owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie and the six limited partners, will have no ownership stake. The team will remain in Tampa.

With the agreement, Vinik, 50, apparently takes over the team's payroll. That is important because the Lightning reportedly drew an advance on end-of-season league revenue sharing money to help meet January's payroll.

There was no immediate word on how much Vinik paid for the team, but it is believed substantially less than the $170 million reported by the Hockey News. OK Hockey paid $200 million in June 2008.

It is believed the key to the transaction was the willingness of former owner Palace Sports & Entertainment to take less on the dollar to settle its financing of OK Hockey's purchase.

Palace Sports financed about $67 million and lent another $30 million in operating capital. Galatioto Sports Partners, a New York sports banking firm, financed at least another $30 million.

But Palace Sports could soon be for sale, a process that will be easier if the Lightning is off its books. Karen Davidson, widow of Bill Davidson, who owned Palace Sports, the umbrella company that controlled the Lightning and Pistons, reportedly wants to unload all her sports and entertainment holdings.

Vinik, a limited partner in the Red Sox, was not immediately available for comment. He will be the Lightning's fifth owner.

Boston investor Jeff Vinik secures purchase agreement to buy Tampa Bay Lightning 02/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 5, 2010 11:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494