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Red Sox Owner Negotiating To Buy Pittsburgh Penguins

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Topline

Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C., is negotiating to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, a potential move into hockey for one of the country’s most valuable sports groups.

Key Facts

Fenway Sports Group and the Penguins are discussing a sale, a source close to the deal confirmed to Forbes (the Wall Street Journal was first to report on the talks).

The parties plan to keep the Penguins’ senior leadership — including chairman and current co-owner Mario Lemieux — in place, the source said.

The two sides could reach a deal this week, but terms of any purchase are unclear, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources.

The Penguins’ current owners — former team member Lemieux and investor Ron Burkle — bought the then-bankrupt franchise in late 1999.

Big Number

$650 million. That’s what Forbes estimated the Penguins were worth last December, making the team the NHL’s 11th most valuable franchise. Lemieux and Burkle bought the Penguins for just $107 million 22 years ago, but since then, the team has moved into a new publicly-owned arena and won three Stanley Cups.

Key Background

Fenway Sports Group was founded two decades ago by a team led by trader John Henry, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $3.6 billion. The group purchased the Red Sox — now one of the MLB’s most valuable teams — in early 2002. Since then, it has bought soccer club Liverpool F.C. and half of NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing. Its total value stood at an estimated $6.6 billion as of January, making it one of the world’s most valuable sports conglomerates. RedBird Capital Partners reportedly invested $750 million in Fenway Sports Group earlier this year, part of a deal that led to NBA icon LeBron James securing a stake in the group. 

Tangent

The Penguins have been the subject of sale rumors in the past. A group including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former NFL player Dan Marino — both Pittsburgh natives — discussed buying the Penguins in 2006, but the team reportedly rejected their offer. Reports of a possible sale circulated again ten years later, but the owners ultimately chose not to sell the franchise.

Further Reading

Boston Red Sox Owner Fenway Sports in Talks to Buy Pittsburgh Penguins (Wall Street Journal)

Why Mario Lemieux Wants To Sell The Pittsburgh Penguins (Forbes)