July 19, 2007
The Katz power playLocal billionaire bypasses board of directors in his third attempt to buy Oilers
By ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media
Edmonton billionaire Daryl Katz is hoping that the third time is a charm in his attempt to purchase the Edmonton Oilers.
After being rebuffed in two previous attempts to purchase the club from the Edmonton Investors Group, Katz has reportedly upped the ante, to as much as $170 million, though neither side will confirm details of the offer.
And this time he's trying an end-around, bypassing the EIG Board of Directors, who rebuffed his previous two advances, and appealing directly to the shareholders.
The first two times Katz tried to gain control of the team he presented the Board of Directors with preliminary offers to buy a majority of shares in the team.
Both times the answer was no.
This time Katz bypassed the Board of Directors altogether and has gone straight to the shareholders with the offer to buy the whole thing.
He needs two-thirds of the 35 members in order for the sale to go through.
The Oilers have a board meeting scheduled for today.
Katz, a self-made billionaire in the pharmaceutical industry, was listed by Forbes magazine as the 486th richest man on the planet with a net worth of $1.6 billion in 2006.
The EIG is everyone's sentimental choice to keep the team, having stepped up and rescued the Oilers when the club was on the verge of leaving town.
They bought the Edmonton Oilers when it didn't make financial sense (the club was losing money and the Canadian dollar was just 63 cents US), steering the franchise through difficult waters, through a lengthy work stoppage, and turning it into one of the NHL's most profitable ventures.