Sunday, 21 June 2009

Reds receive Financial boost as Gillett sells NHL team

Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has moved to strengthen his financial position by agreeing a £330 million deal to sell Montreal Canadiens, his National Hockey League franchise to brewing giants Molson reports the Telegraph.

The 60-year-old, who took control of the Canadiens in 2001, has agreed to sell his 80.1% stake in the ice hockey team, together with the Bell Centre Arena where they play and the Gillett Entertainment Group, which promotes sport and music. The Canadiens buy out has yet to be approved by the NHL’s board of governors, could take up to six weeks to be approved, but it is not expected to be blocked.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said: “I think to the extent that they [Gillett] have been able to find people who are obviously passionate about the game and structure a transaction that makes sense for everybody, that’s a real plus for the franchise.”

Both Gillett and Hicks have been actively seeking buyers for their American sports franchises in recent months in order to raise funds to consolidate their position at Liverpool. Gillett has struck a deal with brewing giants Molson for the Canadiens, Hicks continues to search for a buyer for his Texas Rangers baseball franchise.

The Molson deal will no doubt strengthen the pairs position in refinance their £350 million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia on July 24, but could also give Rafa Benitz the extra spending power to strengthen his squad this summer. It may also stave off the pack of clubs intent on picking off players because of the clubs so called financial hardship.

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