The Bon Jovi/Toronto group seeking to buy the Buffalo Bills has been allowed a first-bid do-over. In one of a bundle of surprising new developments in this melodrama, QMI Agency has learned the Toronto trio is expected on Tuesday to resubmit a higher, non-binding initial bid for the Bills -- probably between $1 billion and $1.1 billion. The group also has been asked to submit greater assurances it plans to keep the Bills long-term in the Buffalo area. Sources have told QMI Agency the Bon Jovi/Toronto group's first bid actually was rejected last week by Morgan Stanley, the investment bank conducting the sale of the NFL club for the trust of Ralph Wilson. Until or unless the group resubmits, it's out. The reasons? The Toronto group's bid was uncompetitively low and, perhaps as damningly, too much doubt existed within the trust, Morgan Stanley and that duo's law firm regarding the group's newly adopted intention to keep the NFL team in Western New York, sources say. The latter is the most significant indication yet that a failure to provide convincing assurance of keeping the 55-year-old franchise in the Buffalo area is a potential bid-breaker in this sale, and all because of the Bills' restrictive lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium. If the Toronto group's amended bid is still deemed financially insufficient, or if their non-relocation assurances fall significantly short again, its bid is dead. Otherwise, Morgan Stanley will invite the group into the final phase of the sale process, along with Terry Pegula, Donald Trump and any other qualifying late-comers the bank might yet recruit. Adam Benigni of Buffalo's WGRZ-TV on Thursday reported that Morgan Stanley has re-opened the first-bid process entirely. The banker has set aside this week and next to meet in person with finalist bidders. The seller and prospective buyers will share much more detailed financial information. Probably by late August, finalists will be asked to submit binding, definitive bids. The Toronto group comprises three parties: New Jersey rocker Bon Jovi, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum and Edward Rogers and his family, who control Canada's top telecom empire, Rogers Communications Inc. Bon Jovi would be principal owner. Constituted in that manner, sources have told QMI Agency the group cannot come close to matching even the reported initial bid of $1.3 billion submitted last week by Pegula, the cash-flush oil-and-gas multi-billionaire who already owns the NHL's Buffalo Sabres. Two QMI Agency sources said Pegula indeed bid about $1.3 billion. Trump, the celebrity real-estate mogul from Manhattan, is the only other known bidder. A multi-billionaire himself, Trump reportedly bid about $1 billion.
Toronto group bidding on Bills allowed to submit higher first bid
Toronto Sun | Aug 6