Apollo, Blackstone Execs. Buy Hockey Team

Aug 15 2013 | 12:34pm ET

A pair of private-equity honchos have added to their sporting empire.

Apollo Global Management co-founder Joshua Harris and the Blackstone Group's David Blitzer have acquired the New Jersey Devils hockey team for $320 million. The deal was approved by the National Hockey League yesterday and finalized this morning.

Harris and Blitzer two years ago bought basketball's Philadelphia 76ers. But the Devils give the two something they don't have in Philly: control of the team's arena and ownership of its lease. The Wells Fargo Center in Philly is owned by Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Devils' rival, the Philadelphia Flyers, who share the building with the Sixers.

Harris, who is unhappy with the Sixers' lease in Philadelphia, quickly moved to scotch concerns that he might move the team to the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., which hosted the former New Jersey Nets basketball team until last year.

"The Sixers are staying in Philly," Harris said.

Sixers CEO Scott O'Neill, however, will not: He will become CEO of the financially-troubled Devils. Longtime Devils President Lou Lamoriello will remain with the team, as will former owner Jeff Vanderbeek, who becomes a senior adviser. Vanderbeek has been the Devils' majority owner since 2004.


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