Tom Gaglardi has agreed to a price and most of the terms for buying the Dallas Stars - and if he can steer it through bankruptcy court with the bankers in charge of the sale, the Vancouver businessman will be the NHL team's new owner.
It is expected Gaglardi, 43, will soon enter an exclusive negotiating period of roughly 30 days to complete the purchase of the NHL team and a 50-per-cent share of American Airlines Center. The last hurdle, according to a source familiar with the sale who requested anonymity because the deal is not official, is taking the Stars through bankruptcy court so Gaglardi will not be hampered by any debts left by current owner Tom Hicks.
Declaring bankruptcy is opposed by the NHL, according to the source, but it is viewed as a necessity because of the Stars' long list of creditors. It is hoped the sale can be completed by the end of May, but that is not certain as the bidders who lost out to Gaglardi in this round could resurface in bankruptcy court.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly declined to clarify the situation. He said in an e-mail message Monday the source's information is "partially true and partially inaccurate. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to specify which is which."
Gaglardi said he was "not at liberty to discuss" the situation.
The winning bidder over two Dallas groups - led by local oil men Doug Miller and Billy Quinn - Gaglardi is chairman of his family's business, Northland Properties Corp., which counts a hotel chain, restaurants and ski resorts among its holdings.
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.
No one is saying what Gaglardi will pay for the Stars and a half-interest in the arena but it looks to be in the range of $250-million (U.S.).
The bankers who seized control of the Stars and baseball's Texas Rangers after Hicks's sports company, which owned both teams, defaulted on $525-million in loans in March of 2009, were said to have demanded $450-million at one point.
The Rangers were sold through the bankruptcy court in August of 2010.
The Stars missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year, and is estimated to have lost $15-million in the 2010-11 season.