The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Wednesday that they have obtained the services of Morgan Stanley to oversee a review of their strategic options. Those options would include selling a part or all of the National Hockey League franchise.
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Over the last 16 years, Mario Lemieux, 49, and Ron Burkle, 62, have led the partnership that has owned the Black and Gold. In a joint statement on the team’s web site they said, “We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel. After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”
Lemieux also said on the web site, “Our goal all along was to solidify the franchise both on and off the ice. Our star players are signed to long-term contracts, they’ve got a deep and passionate base to support them, and I believe the Penguins are well-positioned for the future. Regardless of what happens, I plan on staying involved with the team in some capacity, and Ron and I plan to retain an ownership stake.”
It was TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie who first broke the story and reminds everyone that it was Morgan Stanley that helped to facilitate the sale of the Buffalo Sabres to Terry Pegula.
TSN reporter Rick Westhead had this comment on Twitter…
Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette wrote, ‘this is not the first time the Penguins have gone on the market since Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Burkle took over. There was a letter of intent to sell to a group of West Coast investors, headed by Silicon Valley financier William “Boots” Del Biaggio, in 2005, but that deal eventually fell through.”
Jason Macky and Rob Rossi of the Tribune Review said in their report, “a separate source said this process gained considerable steam, spearheaded by an appraisal of the franchise, during the past two weeks.”
KDKA TV sports director Bob Pompeani pointed out on Twitter…
Pittsburgh has made the Stanley Cup playoffs for nine successive seasons. They have sold out 377 consecutive contests, going back to Feb. 2007. While the team is not going anywhere, is it time to hand the reigns over to someone else? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.