As promised in last week's bankruptcy hearing, Jim Balsillie has formally applied for ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes.
A representative for the Canadian billionaire confirmed Monday that an application was filed with the NHL seeking a transfer in ownership from majority owner Jerry Moyes to Balsillie, the co-CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the popular BlackBerry mobile device.
Moyes filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 5, a move intended to facilitate the sale of the franchise to Balsillie for $212.5 million US, but on the condition he can relocate the franchise in southern Ontario — specifically, Hamilton.
Balsillie also agreed to provide $17 million US in bridge financing to keep the Coyotes operating in advance of said sale, which is being opposed by the NHL.
The NHL has challenged Moyes's legal authority to file for Chapter 11 protection, arguing it has assumed control of the franchise and removed him as majority owner.
'There has been no mediation'
Judge Redfield T. Baum, who is presiding over the bankruptcy hearing, ordered mediation between Moyes and the NHL to determine who is in control of the team.
Baum is expecting a status report on Wednesday.
"There has been no mediation," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Canadian Press in an email. "The parties have exchanged ideas. Nothing has been finalized to this point."
Balsillie's representatives told Baum at a May 20 bankruptcy hearing that he expected to file the application to purchase the financially troubled team early this week.
If the NHL's board of governors rejects Balsillie's application, Baum has scheduled a hearing for June 22, at which time he is expected to rule on whether the team can be relocated to remove it from bankruptcy.
After that, a court-supervised auction will likely be held, with Balsillie's bid expected, by far, to be the biggest.
Moyes has claimed to have lost more than $200 million US in equity and more than $100 million US in debt since buying the Coyotes with developer Steve Ellman for $90 million US in 2001.
Court documents detail $73 million US in team losses between 2005 and 2008.
According to the Forbes Magazine, the Coyotes are worth an estimated $142 million US — lowest in the NHL.With files from The Canadian Press