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Dallas Stars Get Approval to Sell Hockey Team to Gaglardi

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Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The Dallas Stars, the bankrupt National Hockey League team, won court approval to sell itself to hotelier Tom Gaglardi for about $50 million in cash and $100 million in new debt.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter Walsh said today at a hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, that he will approve the sale as part of the Stars’ prepackaged restructuring plan. The plan was negotiated with creditors before the hockey team sought bankruptcy protection about two months ago.

“We’re happy with confirmation of the plan and approval of the sale and look forward to closing the transaction,” Martin A. Sosland, a lawyer for the team, said in an interview after the hearing. Gaglardi has already received approval to buy the team from the NHL Board of Governors and the sale may be completed as early as today, Sosland said.

Gaglardi, a Vancouver-based businessman, and his family own Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites, Denny’s Restaurants and the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers, according to court documents.

“Tom loves hockey, and he loves the Dallas Stars,” said Gaglardi’s attorney, David W. Parham, in an interview after the hearing. “This is a great day for hockey in Dallas and we look forward to closing the sale.”

Under his offer, an NHL affiliate will be repaid about $51 million it loaned the Stars. Senior lenders owed $250.9 million will be given a new $100 million note, plus an amount of cash to be calculated later. Another group of lenders owed $146.2 million will get $500,000 in cash.

Auction Canceled

The Stars canceled a bankruptcy auction that was set to take place Nov. 21 after failing to receive any other offers.

Walsh noted how quickly the Stars will exit court protection, saying “this is probably close to a record.” There were “no glitches; it’s almost boring,” Walsh said.

After relocating to Dallas from Minnesota in 1993, the franchise made the postseason 12 times in a 14-year span, including back-to-back appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 and 2000. Dallas won its lone NHL championship after the 1998-99 season, led by Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull and Ed Belfour.

Gary Meagher, a spokesman for the NHL, wasn’t immediately able to comment on the sale.

The case is In re Dallas Stars LP, 11-12935, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Bathon in Wilmington, Delaware, at mbathon@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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