Cohl Has Penguin Intentions

A business coalition that includes promoter Michael Cohl has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins pro hockey team for a reported $175 million.

The CPI chief and recent addition to Live Nation‘s board of directors has already expanded his investments beyond the concert world, financially backing the Broadway musical production of “Lord of the Rings.” If the Penguins go to the group that includes Cohl, the team will likely stay in Pittsburgh and play in a $290 million arena funded by gambling operator Isle of Capri Casinos.

Current team owner Mario Lemieux has been adamant that a buyer should not move the team. In fact, bidder Andrew Murstein told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he may have been taken out of the running because of the many broadcast and newspaper interviews he did early in the bidding process.

“A Penguins official called me and said, ‘Don’t make Mario look bad if he would be selling it to a person who moved it,'” Murstein told the paper.

Cohl is part of a group fronted by Toronto real estate broker and longtime hockey fan Sam Fingold and the broker’s father, David, and brother Michael. It is believed Fingold’s group threw down a nonrefundable $5 million to $10 million to sign the letter of intent, the Post-Gazette said.

Under the deal, Fingold’s group is obligated to carry out any agreement reached by Lemieux’s group to fund a new arena.