The Nashville Predators’ sale to former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam should close over the next few months. Haslam will take control of the club over a multiyear process that values the team at roughly $775 million, according to people familiar with the transaction who were granted anonymity because the details are private.
Haslam will initially be a minority owner of the Predators and transition to the controlling owner by July 2025 through the purchase of shares held by current Predators principal, Herb Fritch, as well as those of several minority owners. Other LPs are retaining their shares. The team’s website lists 16 owners besides Fritch.
The deal includes four payments that use a climbing enterprise value from below $775 million to more than $900 million for the final one in 2025. The net present value of the transaction is roughly $775 million when factoring in a discount rate for the time value of money. The price is the second highest ever for an NHL team after Fenway Sports Group’s purchase of the Pittsburgh Penguins for $900 million at the end of 2021. The Predators rank No. 23 in Sportico’s NHL team valuations to be released Tuesday.
“When we announced that Herb would be selling the majority of his stake in the team to Bill Haslam, documents were still to be drafted and discussions were ongoing,” a Predators spokesman said in an email. “At that time, we expected Haslam to become a minority owner in the franchise over the next several months and we are still in that process. Within the next few years, through a multi-phased purchase transaction, Haslam will become the club’s majority owner.” The Predators would not comment on when the sale would close. The NHL did not return a request for comment.
The Predators released a statement in June, a day after Sportico broke the story that Haslam was buying the club. “From the time our ownership group, made up of day one season ticket holders, gathered together in 2007 to purchase and guarantee the franchise’s future in Nashville, the goal has been to ensure that stewardship of the team is in strong local hands,” Sean Henry, Predators CEO said in the statement. “The pending addition of Governor Haslam to the ownership group solidifies that local stewardship for years to come, with the shared philosophy for making SMASHVILLE the most unique sports market in our league and country as our players and coaches compete for the Stanley Cup each season. We are excited and appreciative that he has agreed to join the ownership team.”
Fritch was part of Predators Holdings which bought the club for $175 million in 2017. He succeeded fellow Preds co-owner Tom Cigarran as team chairman and NHL governor in 2019. The Predators have established a strong brand in Nashville and are a perennial playoff contender. The club also benefits as the operator of its home rink, Bridgestone Arena, in downtown Nashville, which opened in 1996. The arena was the 13th highest-grossing arena in the world (and sixth in the U.S.) for concerts in 2019, the last full pre-COVID year for live entertainment, according to Pollstar. Last year, it ranked fifth globally.
Haslam is the brother of Cleveland Browns and Columbus Crew owner Jimmy Haslam. Their father, Jim, founded gas and truck-stop firm, Pilot Company, which now generates more than $25 billion in revenue. Jimmy has been involved with Pilot for nearly five decades, including a long stint as CEO, while Bill turned to politics after four years as president of Pilot in the late 1990s. Bill was elected mayor of Nashville in 2003 and served two terms as governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019.
Bill Haslam is worth $2.6 billion, according to Forbes.