St. Louis Blues up for sale

St. Louis Blues' Ryan Reaves (75) fights with Montreal Canadiens' Paul Mara (22) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 10, 2011 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
St. Louis Blues' Ryan Reaves (75) fights with Montreal Canadiens' Paul Mara (22) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 10, 2011 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam) (Tom Gannam - AP)

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The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 16, 2011; 8:02 PM

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues are for sale.

Team chairman Dave Checketts said Wednesday night that his group, Sports Capital Partners Worldwide, and Towerbrook Capital Partners have placed the NHL franchise and the Scottrade Center on the market.

The two groups own roughly 90 percent of the franchise.

"We have tried putting together a group, which includes local investors, as well as others with the intention of buying out TowerBrook Capital Partners," Checketts said on a conference call. "This has been going on for months and the last two months, having raised the money that I needed, we began negotiations in earnest with TowerBrook and we have been unable to come to an agreement with them on terms that they will accept."

Checketts and SCP Worldwide own about 20 percent of the team, while Towerbrook Partners, a private equity firm, owns 70 percent. The other 10 percent belongs to minority owner Tom Stillman, chairman and CEO of Summit Distributing, a St. Louis-based beer distributor.

Checketts, whose investment firm also owns Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake and the American Hockey League's Peoria Rivermen, bought the Blues in March 2006 from Bill and Nancy Laurie.

Checketts, who placed at least a pair of deadlines on the table regarding purchasing majority ownership, cited a difference in terms with TowerBrook on what the value of the franchise is. Boston-based Game Plan LLC has been brought in to conduct a search for a new owner.

"This is a difficult, personal decision for me because we've all come to love this team, my family and I, we love the city of St. Louis and we are especially grateful to the fans who have been just terrific," said Checketts, who indicated that it is his desire to find an ownership group that will keep the Blues in St. Louis. "I could not have asked for better from the fans of St. Louis. But now, we look forward to finding a buyer that shares the same passion that we've had, and the same commitment.

"There's no timetable in this process. But I felt it was important to go public that I am no longer a buyer of the franchise but in fact a seller alongside TowerBrook. ... I just want to make sure that I identify and put it in the hands of someone who will care about it and be passionate about it. I look forward to that process."


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