New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has agreed to sell his majority interest in the team to Jonathan Ledecky, a former co-owner of the Washington Capitals, and London-based investor Scott Malkin, the team announced Tuesday in a statement:
Under the terms of the agreement, Charles Wang will continue as majority shareholder and Governor of the Islanders, with the Ledecky/Malkin group transitioning to majority owner in two years.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to become partners in the New York Islanders with Charles, and to pursue our shared dream of winning a fifth Stanley Cup for the greatest fans in the NHL,” Mr. Ledecky said.
“I’m thrilled that Jon and Scott have agreed to join me as we start the Islanders’ final year at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” Mr. Wang said. “I look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Wang has long sought to build a new arena near the Islanders’ aging current stadium in Uniondale, N.Y., but failed in his efforts. In October 2012, the team announced it would be moving its home games to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., starting in the 2015-16 season.
Terms of Wang’s deal with Ledecky and Malkin were not announced, as the deal needs to be approved by the NHL.
Wang reportedly has been trying to unload the Islanders for some time. Last week, he was hit by a $10 million lawsuit by Philadelphia-based hedge-fund manager Andrew Barroway and his company, NY ICE, after Wang allegedly backed out of a handshake agreement to sell the Islanders to the group for $420 million. Barroway’s lawsuit says Wang reneged on the deal Aug. 1 because he had decided to sell the team to a different group at a higher cost.
Ledecky partnered with Ted Leonsis to purchase the Capitals from Abe Pollin for $85 million in 1999, and also owned a minority interest in Verizon Center, the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics. He sold his shares in the Washington properties to Leonsis for a substantial profit in 2001.
Since then, Ledecky has made a number of attempts to purchase a professional sports franchise. He reportedly had interest in buying the Montreal Canadiens in 2001, and had reached terms to purchase the Oakland Athletics in 2002 before that deal fell apart. Ledecky also led a group that tried to purchase the Washington Nationals from Major League Baseball, losing out to the Lerner family in 2006.