NHL Could Take Over Cash-Strapped Devils in August
New York, NY
New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek has until August 14 to pay $77 million debt to investors to keep the NHL from taking over the Stanley Cup finalist.
The New York Post reported Monday that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is preparing to take control of the money-losing franchise in case Vanderbeek fails to come up with the needed money to cover the debt.
An NHL source confirmed that the commissioner's office has told potential suitors to be ready in case he takes over the team and pushes Vanderbeek aside.
The source added that Bettman is likely to take over the team earlier than August 14 to give potential buyers ample time to dig into the team's books and make an offer to lenders.
"New investors may not want to buy the team and leave Vanderbeek in charge," a source added.
The newspaper said Vanderbeek is willing to sell his majority stake in the team to keep the league from owning the team.
Vanderbeek reportedly told Bettman that he's confident he can pull off a deal to keep the team in the next few weeks.
"Vanderbeek is working to both refinance the debt on the club and equity-raise, and he appears to be fairly confident that he can pull this off in the next few weeks," Bettman replied when asked about the Devils' situation.
"Since I've been in touch with the banks on a regular basis, we seem to be on track," Bettman added.
Vanderbeek could also decide to put the Devils into bankruptcy and buy himself several months to arrange a restructuring plan.
The original date for putting the team in default was July but was moved back to August when the Devils made the Stanley Cup. The team eventually lost to the Los Angeles Kings, 4-2, in the best-of-seven series.
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