Dallas Stars Should Have New Owner Soon, But Not In June

Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi has agreed to a price to purchase the Dallas Stars, according to a Globe And Mail report. Gaglardi will still have to maneuver the Stars' bankruptcy process to take control of the team.

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Mike Heika Predicts 'Significant News' In Dallas Stars Sale Process

The good news for the Dallas Stars’ hope of an imminent sale, as Defending Big D’s Brad Gardner notes, is that all parties are now speaking in terms of weeks. The bad news is that the process is certain to require more than four weeks, moving the timetable past the start of free agency.

This means that Brad Richards is almost certain to become a free agent, and though Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk will be able to keep a dialog open, he won’t be able to make concrete offers until some point in July at the earliest. In other words, Richards will probably not be a Star in 2012.

Mike Heika does say that progress is being made and that “significant news,” aka a concrete bid, could come by the end of this week. Even with that news, Heika cautions that the process won’t end until later this summer.

[Tom] Gaglardi is negotiating with a group of lenders who began paying the bills when Hicks Sports Group defaulted on more than $500 million in loans in March 2009.

While a signed purchase agreement would be a huge step, complications and court proceedings could mean the sale is not official until July or August.

Heika also notes that Gaglardi most likely won’t be alone in pursuing the team through the sale and bankruptcy process.

According to the two sources, Dallas businessmen Doug Miller and Billy Quinn would still be interested in possibly trying to better Gaglardi’s offer.

At least one other interested party, Detroit businessman Christopher T. Charlton, has had his lawyers looking at the Stars finances and could be open to making a bid, one source confirmed.

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Stars, Gaglardi May Not Manage Ownership Transfer Until Late June

If the Stars hope to retain star center Brad Richards, a new report suggests that the timing of the team’s sale could make things tricky. Mike Heika says that prospective owner Tom Gaglardi is not expected to assume control of the team until late June.

While Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi is in an exclusive negotiating window and could have a signed purchase agreement with an offer that exceeds $250 million within two weeks, the process of an organized bankruptcy hearing would force a window of 30-60 days to allow other bidders to try to exceed Gaglardi’s offer, the sources said.

That means while an official hearing might last only three days, Gaglardi would not be able to become the owner and authorize moves until late June. That window also goes for anyone who might try to outbid Gaglardi before the team goes to a prepackaged bankruptcy hearing or during the hearing, the sources said.

The bankruptcy hearing will probably take place in Tarrant County. At that time, a judge will determine if the window in which other bids can be offered will be 30 or 60 days. If it is 30 days, the new owner could take control before NHL free agency begins July 1.

Free agency in the NFL begins on July 1. The Stars would need a deal before then to have exclusive negotiating rights with Richards.

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Stars, Gaglardi Inch Closer To Sale

The Toronto Globe And Mail released a report Tuesday night that classified Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi's negotiations with Dallas Stars creditors as having "agreed to a price" and says that Gagliardi is now in position to guide the bankruptcy sale process. 

Brandon Worley of Defending Big D notes that the news doesn't really change the status of the sale and that there is still ground to cover.

This report backs up what Mike Heika reported last week, and it's going to be interesting to determine just which part of this report is "inaccurate." There is really no real new information in the G&M report, other than stating that Tom Gagliardi has actually agreed to terms to purchase the team -- something that was hinted at last week when he was the "leading bidder".

Two very important facts to take note of from this report, if true: This is the closest we've been to the sale actually going through since the team was put on the market well over a year ago, and just because Gagliardi has agreed to terms doesn't mean that the sale is anywhere near final. He still has, apparently, a 30 day window of exclusive negotiating to narrow down the price and terms of the sale and there's also the very real chance this thing has to go to bankruptcy court first.

Stars fans watch the process with hope that the sale will be complete before July 1 so that the team can be in position to retain star center Brad Richards. The Globe And Mail report suggests that there is hope, particularly if Gaglardi does get the team in time.

Gaglardi, who in 2008 lost a court fight with Francesco Aquilini for control of the Vancouver Canucks, also owns the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL in partnership with NHL players Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla and Mark Recchi.

If Gaglardi completes the sale, the top prize in this summer's NHL free-agent market could be taken off the market. Brad Richards said last month the team's uncertain ownership situation probably meant he would look at the open market when his contract expires June 30. But the centre also said his preference is to remain in Dallas.

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