An ownership shakeup could be on the way for the Arizona Coyotes, as Alex Meruelo is reportedly close to purchasing a majority stake in the franchise.
On Monday, The Athletic reported that Meruelo–a billionaire entrepreneur who founded the Meruelo Group– “is in the advanced stages” of buying the majority share of the Coyotes from current owner Andrew Barroway, who would retain a minority stake. The exact percentage that Meruelo would purchase remains unknown, and the potential change to the franchise’s ownership structure would require approval from the NHL Board of Governors.
While the Coyotes have confirmed Meruelo’s interest in the franchise, there is no finalized agreement in place and several steps remain in the process before an ownership change could move forward. More from the Arizona Republic:
It is well-documented that current majority owner Andrew Barroway has been seeking creative ownership solutions over the past several months. Barroway became the team’s majority owner in 2015 and bought out his partners in 2017 to become sole owner.
Although Meruelo is discussing the purchase of a majority share in the organization, the exact size of the share is unclear. It is expected that Barroway will retain a small minority share.
“What I can confirm right now is that Alex Meruelo is very interested in purchasing the Coyotes,” Coyotes President and CEO Ahron Cohen said in a statement to The Republic. “Alex’s track record of strong business success certainly precedes him and makes him a great candidate to help our team build upon the positive momentum we have established over the past year. We will keep all the members of Our Pack updated of important milestones moving forward.”
It is unclear whether Meruelo’s purchase would have any immediate impact on the Coyotes’ search for a new arena in the Valley, but league sources maintained that for the foreseeable future Meruelo’s focus would be on making the team successful in Arizona.
At points in the past, the Coyotes expressed a desire to leave to Glendale’s Gila River Arena in favor of a new facility in downtown Phoenix or the East Valley, contending it would be better for the organization’s financial outlook. However, there has not been much news regarding an arena search over the past few years. The team unveiled a proposal in late 2016 that called for a new arena in Tempe that would be constructed as part of a partnership with Arizona State University and its hockey program, but ASU pulled the plug on that plan in early 2017 and is now moving forward with the construction of a multi-sport venue that will accommodate hockey. Additionally, state legislation to finance a new arena failed to gain support among Arizona lawmakers in 2017.