Pittsburgh Penguins has entered an agreement to be acquired by Fenway Sports Group (FSG) if followed with approval by the National Hockey League (NHL) Board of Governors.
Expected to close by the end of 2021, the transaction will see Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle remain a part of the ownership group and will be ‘closely aligned’ with FSG.
“As the Penguins enter a new chapter, I will continue to be as active and engaged with the team as I always have been and look forward to continuing to build on our success with our incoming partners at FSG,” Lemieux said.
“They have an organisational philosophy that mirrors the approach that worked so well for Ron and me over the past 22 years.”
Lemieux and Burkle purchased the top-flight team in 1999, and since then have delivered three Stanley Cups and also saw the development of the PPG Paints Arena.
Additionally, the deal looks to maintain a continuity of leadership throughout the club’s Senior Management team, including CEO David Morehouse, COO Kevin Acklin, President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke, General Manager Ron Hextall, and Head Coach Mike Sullivan.
“Fenway Sports Group brings everything we could ask for in an ownership partner to help continue the historic success of the Pittsburgh Penguins,” shared Morehouse, who also explained that he hopes that the partnership brings ‘historic success’, whilst giving the team modern research, data and player performance.
“They understand what the Penguins mean to Pittsburgh,” he added. “This combination is a truly exciting partnership that positions our club at the forefront of the future of professional sports and allows us to build upon what Ron and Mario created.”
The transaction saw the Bank of America serve as Financial Advisor to FSG, and Citi as Financial Advisor to the Penguins. Legal Advisors were Shearman & Sterling to FSG, and Reed Smith for the Penguins.
FSG Chairman, Tom Werner, noted: “The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise with a very strong organisation, a terrific history and a vibrant, passionate fan base. We will work diligently to continue building on the remarkable Penguins’ tradition of championships and exciting play.
“We are particularly excited to welcome Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle to FSG and have the utmost respect for all they have done to build the Penguins into the perennially successful franchise we know today. We look forward to working with Mario, Ron and the entire Penguins front office team.”
In recent months, the Penguins extended its partnership with Agway Energy Services following the original collaboration in February 2020.
This deal included in-arena signage, as well as live commercial reads during all regular-season games, website presence and game tickets.