NHL Offered Roll-Up Plan

Two private-equity firms have reportedly floated a proposal to buy the National Hockey League, then divide it into three groups based on market value. Apparently about one-third of NHL owners are keen to the idea.

Bain Capital LLC and Game Plan LLC have introduced the idea of purchasing control of the league’s 30 teams, then splitting them into groups of 10, a source told The Wall Street Journal. The proceeds from the buyout would be split among the teams, but the first group would divvy up $2.25 billion, the second $1 billion and those in the deep red would get $750 million.

About two-thirds of the owners are either opposed to the idea or are on the fence, the source said, and NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur declined to comment.

The league has supposedly asked the private-equity firms to keep the proposal on the table as it continues to negotiate with its players. Despite marathon talks, the NHL seems no closer to the first face-off of the upcoming season.

The offer has supposedly been raised $500 million despite its lack of acceptance. If league owners bite, the NHL would be converted from individual franchisers to a single entity much like Major League Soccer and the Women’s National Basketball Association, the WSJ noted. That model has reduced free market competition for players, which has been a source of financial setback for pro hockey.