Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé has dropped out of the bidding to buy the Ottawa Senators hockey team, said a source familiar with the negotiations.
Ranadivé had been one of seven finalists vying to buy the the National Hockey League franchise in Canada’s capital city that was put on the sales block after the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March 2022.
But when the final bids were submitted on May 15, it did not include one from Ranadivé. The source, who could not give his name because he is not authorized to talk about details of the sale, said Ranadivé and two other finalists had dropped out of the bidding process.
Representatives of Ranadivé did not respond to messages seeking comment.
The source said he had not talked to Ranadivé and was unaware why the Kings owner withdrew from the bidding process.
Ranadivé was in Ottawa on April 12 touring the Senators home, the Canadian Tire Center, and meeting with the Senators Chief Financial Officer Erin Crowe, President of Business Operations Anthony LeBlanc and General Manager Pierre Dorion, the source said.
He said the King’s owner made the trip after becoming a finalist to buy the team. The seven finalists had been narrowed down from 16. The other nine bidders were eliminated in early March because their bids were deemed too low.
The seven finalists including Ranadivé had all placed initial bids of above $800 million for the team. The team is expected to sell for more than $1 billion, which would be the highest amount ever paid for an NHL hockey team.
Money to be made
Owning a professional sports team can be a very profitable venture.
Back in 2013, Ranadivé and his ownership group bought the Kings for $533 million, a record for an NBA team at that time. The team is now estimated to be worth as much as $2.5 billion, which includes the value of The Kings arena, Golden 1 Center.
Ranadivé made his fortune in the software industry. He received $316.4 million for his shares of Tibco Software Inc. in 2014, the company he founded 17 years earlier.
The initial bid by Ranadivé for the Senators is not the first time he has attempted to buy another professional sports team.
Ranadivé, the source said, lost out in a large international deal to buy the Chelsea FC soccer team from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2022. The team was bought by billionaire Todd Boehly and his consortium for $3.2 billion.
Boehly is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Kings also own the Sacramento RIver Cats and its West Sacramento stadium.
In August 2022, the Sacramento Kings finalized an agreement to purchase a majority interest in the club for what sources say was close to $100 million.