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NHL’s Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lighting get Arctos investment

Firm becomes first private equity investor since ownership rule changes.

4 January 2022 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Arctos to take 10% stake in the Wild
  • NHL gave the green light to private equity ownership last month

The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lighting have secured investments from private equity firm Arctos Sports Partners.

The size of the stake Dallas-based Arctos will take in defending NHL champions the Lighting has not been disclosed, but the firm will take a ten per cent share of the Wild.

In a statement, the Wild’s majority owner Craig Leipold said the sale “will not affect the management or daily operations of the Wild”.

“I will continue to own the vast majority of the club and remain completely committed to bringing the Stanley Cup to the State of Hockey,” he added.

The deals make Arctos the NHL’s first private equity investor since North America’s elite ice hockey league gave the go-ahead for minority private equity ownership in its teams last month, joining the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

The value of Arctos’ investments have not been made public, though Sportico reported in December that a minimum investment of US$20 million in an NHL franchise is required as part of the new ownership rules.

Other rules reportedly include private equity firms being able to own minority stakes in a maximum of five different NHL teams and a single fund being permitted to hold a maximum stake of 20 per cent in a single team. In addition, no franchise can have more than 30 per cent of its equity owned by investment funds.

The Financial Times had reported last month that the Wild and the Lightning were both nearing stake sales to Arctos. The pair were valued at US$675 million and US$650 million, respectively, in Forbes’ latest list of franchise valuations. The Wild’s value was up 35 per cent year-on-year (YoY), while the Lightning’s climbed 38 per cent compared to 2020.

For Arctos, the agreements add to its growing sports portfolio, having invested in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. It also has a holding in Fenway Sports Group (FSG), owner of MLB’s Boston Red Sox, Premier League giants Liverpool and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Arctos also took a stake in the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) last June.

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