Tom Golisano will announce on Thursday he is selling the Buffalo Sabres to billionaire Terry Pegula, who made his fortune in natural gas in Pennsylvania and lives in Florida but has ties to Western New York.
Pegula, 59, appeared before the NHL governors' executive committee during the all-star weekend and made the right impression. The right impression was the $3-billion (all currency U.S.) he received last year from the sale of East Resources, the natural gas and oil company he founded in the early 1980s.
The word from those close to the Sabres is that Golisano and Sabres minority owner and managing partner Larry Quinn will announce the sale on Thursday but Pegula will hold his own press conference at a later date to make his first public comments since his interest in the team became known two months ago.
At this point, the only change in Sabres management will see Quinn step down once the sale becomes official. He operated the team for Golisano ever since the Rochester, N.Y., billionaire bought the Sabres out of bankruptcy in March, 2003. While Pegula is expected to review every area of the Sabres' operation, general manager Darcy Regier is expected to remain in place for now.
Golisano will earn a handsome return on his investment, as will Quinn and Sabres' chief operating officer Dan DiPofi, who were given minority shares for their work in bringing the team out of bankruptcy. Golisano paid a little more than $60-million in cash for the ailing franchise and assumed around $30-million in financial liabilities.
Pegula is expected to pay $175-million in cash and assume $14-million in liabilities. He is a long-time Sabres fan who once lived in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park and whose wife is a native of Rochester.