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Lightning Round: Arctos Sports Partners looking to increase ownership stake in Lightning

Jeff Vinik. Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via their Twitter (@TBLightning)

Back in 2022, Arctos Sports Partners, an equity firm that specializes in investing in professional sports franchises, purchased a stake in the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yesterday, Sportico reported that they were looking to increase that share of ownership. The transaction raised eyebrows when the value of the hockey club was put at $1.4 billion, a significant improvement over the $170 million Jeff Vinik spent to purchase the club back in 2010.

The deal hasn’t been finalized yet as the purchase would require a waiver from the NHL as Arctos’ ownership would exceed the 20% threshold the league normally allows for private equity firms (30% is the maximum they would be able to purchase in a single franchise). Arctos has their hands in a plethora of sporting teams, including a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group, the ownership group that recently purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins.

What does this mean for the Lightning? Not much really. Mr. Vinik remains the majority owner and in control of the major decisions of the club. In addition he raises a little money for some of his other ventures (although it’s unlikely it has anything to do with buying the Tampa Bay Rays).

Arctos gets to increase their ownership share in one of the best run professional franchises in sports at a time where values of teams is on the rise. The Ottawa Senators, a team that isn’t on anywhere near as firm of a ground as the Bolts, were reportedly just sold to a group led by billionaire Michael Andlauer for $950 million – a figure that represents 90% of the club since Anna and Olivia Melnyk will retain 10% of the Senators.

In order to finalize the deal, Andlauer will have to sell his current share of the Montreal Canadiens and any valuation of the franchise that is reported from that transaction will likely dwarf the numbers we are seeing with the Lightning.

Lightning / NHL News

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