The NHL’s Nashville Predators are heading towards a change in ownership. According to Sportico’s Eben Novy-Williams, billionaire businessman Bill Haslam is close to finalizing a deal to purchase the 2017 Stanley Cup finalists.
It is unclear how much Haslam, who also owns the minor league baseball Tennessee Smokies, is going to pay for the Predators. The franchise is valued at around $680 million, while Haslam’s worth is projected to be $2.3 billion.
Greg Wyshynski of ESPN also reported the deal, but according to his sources, Haslam doesn’t intend to purchase the Predators outright. He plans to “gradually” buy stakes in the franchise with the goal of having controlling equity down the line.
The Predators last changed ownership in 2007 when the current ownership group paid $193 million for the franchise. HealthSpring founder Herbert Fritch is considered the face of the group, which has at least 17 other members, according to ESPN.
The Nashville Predators joined the NHL as an expansion franchise in 1998. After early struggles, they became one of the most consistent teams in the league and are currently riding an eight-year playoff streak. Besides the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals appearance, they also made two conference semi-finals.