Pickering Casino developer out; Hamilton Bulldogs owner now frontrunner for Ottawa Senators

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Published June 12, 2023 at 9:06 am

The bidding war for ownership of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators has been reduced by one, with the man behind the Durham Live project and the Pickering Casino Resort withdrawing his bid for the team, despite an offer that has been reported to be the highest at more than $1 billion.

Ottawa Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch, who has been breaking the story since the beginning, said Steve Apostolopoulos was “frustrated” with the process and pulled his bid off the table Friday.

The sale is being organized by Galatioto Sports Partners bankers on behalf of the league and the Eugene Melnyk estate. Melnyk died in March 2022.

Apostolopoulos was supported by Oshawa Generals owner Rocco Tullio in his bid.

The withdrawal of Apostolopoulos leaves groups led by Montreal Canadiens minority owner and Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer and former Pittsburgh Penguins minority owners Michael and Jeffrey Kimel (with support from Canadian music star The Weeknd) as the frontrunners. Both submitted bids sources say was in the neighbourhood of $950 million.

Los Angeles producer Neko Sparks, who has hip hop superstar Snoop Dog on board as well as First Nations organizations in Canada that have been promised a “seat at the table,” is still in the running but is considered the third option right now.

The Remington Group, an early favourite whose bid was supported by Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds, dropped out of the race last month.

All bidders were told the team must remain in Ottawa and that Anna and Olivia Melnyk, the daughters of the late Eugene Melnyk, wish to retain up to 10 per cent of ownership in the franchise.

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