A pair of private equity veterans are set to acquire National Hockey League (NHL) team the New Jersey Devils for $320 million.
The buyers include Josh Harris, owner of National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers and co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO), and David Blitzer, a senior managing director at Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX). The two partners announced their purchase of the Devils, along with the lease to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. where the team plays, late Thursday, Aug. 15.
The Devils, which lost roughly $25 million in the past year, is a struggling franchise. The team’s owner, Jeff Vanderbeek, was reportedly in talks in January to sell his controlling interest to an investment group.
Harris and Blitzer named former Madison Square Garden Sports' chief executive Scott O'Neil to lead the Devils as chief executive officer, a job he also has with the 76ers.
Harris announced that he had been considering a purchase of the team for months but talks stalled due to Vanderbeek considering rival offers. Vanderbeek has been the majority owner of the Devils since 2004 and is slated to stay with the team in an advisory position.
The Devils moved to New Jersey in 1982, playing at the Meadowlands after relocating from Colorado. The team won the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy awarded annually to the NHL playoff winner, in three separate years — 1995, 2000 and 2003 — as well as two Eastern Conference championships, in 2001 and 2012.