Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C., is negotiating to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, a potential move into hockey for one of the country’s most valuable sports groups.
Fenway Sports Group and the Penguins are discussing a sale, a source close to the deal confirmed to Forbes (the Wall Street Journal was first to report on the negotiations).
The parties plan to keep the Penguins’ senior leadership — including chairman and current co-owner Mario Lemieux — in place, the source said.
The two sides could reach a deal this week, but terms of any purchase are unclear, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources.
The Penguins’ current owners — former team member Lemieux and investor Ron Burkle — bought the then-bankrupt franchise in late 1999.
$650 million. That’s what Forbes estimated the Penguins were worth last December, making the team the NHL’s 11th most valuable franchise. Lemieux and Burkle bought the Penguins for just $107 million 22 years ago, but since then, the team has moved into a new publicly-owned arena and won three Stanley Cups.
Fenway Sports Group was founded two decades ago by a team led by trader John Henry, whose net worth Forbes estimates at $3.6 billion. The group purchased the Red Sox — now one of the MLB’s most valuable teams — in early 2002. Since then, it has bought soccer club Liverpool F.C. and half of NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing. Its total value stood at an estimated $6.6 billion as of January, making it one of the world’s most valuable sports conglomerates. RedBird Capital Partners reportedly invested $750 million in Fenway Sports Group earlier this year, part of a deal that led to NBA icon LeBron James securing a stake in the group.
The Penguins have been the subject of sale rumors in the past. A group including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former NFL player Dan Marino — both Pittsburgh natives — discussed buying the Penguins in 2006, but the team reportedly rejected their offer. Reports of a possible sale circulated again ten years later, but the owners ultimately chose not to sell the franchise.
Why Mario Lemieux Wants To Sell The Pittsburgh Penguins (Forbes)