The Oilers ownership has voted to reject Darryl Katz's third attempt to buy the team, TSN.ca is reporting. (The smaller, unedited edmontonjournal.com story calls the vote "overwhelming.")
At a news conference this afternoon, Cal Nichols also announced that the group has decided that the Oilers are no longer for sale.
Are they serious? Tough to say. You can see why the motivation to sell is low here, given that the Oilers are in the top 10 when it comes to league profits. But given that Katz's most current bid of $170-million was a $25-million increase over his previous offer, you have to think the EIG is playing coy until the price tag crests $200-million. I'm only speculating, of course, because I don't really know anything about the Oilers' actual financial situation. But without a new arena, the Oilers earning potential may have hit a ceiling, and there has to come a point where the return from a buyout will be enough to convince more than half of the 34 EIG investors to take the wad they're offered and cram it into the oilsands instead.
Hopefully, this latest rebuff won't be the one that scares Katz off. This franchise needs some new blood, and for some reason I like the guy.
UPDATE 4 p.m.: Couple choice quotes from Nichols have emerged in the expanded journal.com file, linked above.
"This is not about dollars. This is about Edmonton. An ownership group is best-suited for Edmonton and the Oilers."There you go, everyone. The ownership group is what's best for the Oilers. So says the ownership group. Did anyone at this news conference bother to ask why this is, exactly?
Nichols said Katz's attempts to buy the team have caused "collateral damage" and he hoped the outright refusal to sell brings the team needed stability.
"I hope that this, at least for the near term, puts an end to the offer thing because this has been a bit of a circus for four months."
Also, I don't live in Edmonton anymore so I don't have a clear sense on how the Katz "circus" have "destabilized" the team, but yeah. Has there really been that much controversy around this? The process seemed pretty low-key and dignified from this perspective.