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Reports: Ryan Reynolds ends Ottawa Senators pursuit

Consortium led by Wrexham co-owner was reportedly prepared to pay US$1bn for NHL team.

12 May 2023 Josh Sim

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  • Reynolds and Remington Group denied exclusivity window to negotiate deal for new venue
  • Actor could still join another bid
  • High-profile names such as Snoop Dogg and The Weeknd also said to be in Senators race

A bid for the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Ottawa Senators led by actor Ryan Reynolds and the Remington Group will be withdrawn, according to multiple reports.

The Senators were first put up for sale last year, with a report last month stating that there were seven bidders still in contention to acquire the franchise. The Ottawa Sun reported in March that Reynolds had aligned with the Remington Group, and last month detailed that the consortium was willing to make a US$1 billion bid for the franchise, which would set a new record for an NHL team.

According to ESPN, the Wrexham co-owner asked for an exclusive window, which was then denied. The Ottawa Sun adds that the 30-day negotiating window was requested to negotiate a deal with the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa to build a new downtown rink, which is widely expected to be located at the LeBreton Flats site.

The newspaper reports that Galatioto Sports Partners (GSP), the financial services firm tasked with facilitating the team’s sale, as well as Sheldon Plener, the Senators’ governor, thought the request was ‘unreasonable.’ This is said to have led to Reynolds and the Remington Group’s decision to withdraw, with a subsequent report detailing they felt they would end up ‘bidding against themselves.’

According to the outlet, the possibility of Reynolds re-aligning with another bidder exists, as he has apparently met with most of the parties still in the process. The actor was believed to have made plans to produce a documentary series like the ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ show that documented the takeover, which would have then continued through the 2024/25 season.

Among those still in the running for the NHL franchise include Neko Sparks, who leads a group featuring rapper Snoop Dogg and reportedly also includes Hollywood star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. The Ottawa Sun reported last week that another bid led by the Kimel family, who manage a multi-billion real estate portfolio, has added music star The Weeknd to their consortium.

Other reported bidders for the Senators include Steve Apostolopoulos, Michael Andlauer and Sacremento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. The deadline for final non binding offers has been set for 15th May, with the winning bidder to be announced shortly afterwards.

SportsPro says…

The departure of Reynolds from the Senators takeover process would be hugely disappointing for the NHL, given he has shown his ability to transform Wrexham into a globally recognised team and the league has shown support for his involvement.

The actor’s star power had made his joint bid with the Remington Group among the favourites to buy the Senators, and he had reportedly held several meetings with the league, Ottawa city officials and the franchise to put the consortium at the front of the queue.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy Bill Daly were said at the start of the sales process to be telling all interested parties that they were keen to have Reynolds involved. With the Remington group now out of the picture other bidders may seriously look to woo the Hollywood star to their bid as the takeover battle continues. Given the media attention Reynolds’ involvement would bring, as well as the potential for content opportunities, failure to get the Canadian star involved would be a massively missed opportunity for all stakeholders.

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