Calgarian eyes Preds stake

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Preparing for a trip to Europe, Calgary entrepreneur Brett Wilson yesterday politely declined when asked to talk about the Nashville Predators.

But there was plenty of chatter around town about the possibility of the 51-year-old taking on an ownership share of the Predators, following news reports he was interested in investing in the NHL club.

At the tail end of his overseas tour, Wilson will watch his English Championship soccer club Derby County Rams take on storied Premier League powerhouse Manchester United Feb. 15 at Pride Park in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

No word on whether David Freeman will be there, but the Predators lead owner also has a stake in the Rams.

Wilson and Freeman also share business interests in minor-league baseball's West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

A spokesman for the Predators said yesterday the two have discussed joining forces again in the NHL, but nothing is imminent.

"They are talking," said Gerry Helper, the Predators senior vice-president of communications and development.

"They have talked, but there is nothing in place."

For now, anyway. And with Wilson's busy schedule over the next month, it could be a while before any agreement is finalized.

Led by Freeman's Predators Holdings LLC and another half-dozen investors, the Music City hockey franchise has a $25-million share up for grabs.

William (Boots) Del Biaggio's block is available because of his bankruptcy claim.

Either Wilson, another investor or the current ownership group could secure it.

Del Biaggio also pleaded guilty of securities fraud in San Francisco earlier this week.

An oilpatch billionaire who co-founded Calgary's FirstEnergy Capital Corp. -- a brokerage firm that provides investment-baning services to Canada's oil and gas sector -- Wilson has slowly branched out into sports and entertainment.

In addition to his sports endeavours, Wilson has invested in country singer Beverly Mahood and male group Canadian Tenors.

He also serves as a panelist on the CBC TV series Dragon's Den, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts and products to a panel of Canadian business moguls.


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