Private equity execs buy NJ Devils

Aug 15, 2013

FORTUNE -- The National Hockey League today announced that its beleaguered New Jersey Devils franchise has been purchased by private equity executives Josh Harris and David Blitzer, at a price tag reported to be in excess of $320 million.

This is the second pro sports purchase for Harris and Blitzer, who are senior executives at Apollo Global Management (apo) and The Blackstone Group (bx), respectively. They previously purchased the Philadelphia 76ers basketball club, and 76ers CEO Scott O'Neill will serve in a similar capacity for the Devils.

The 76ers ownership group also includes a small group of minority limited partners -- including Sun Capital Partners co-founders Marc Leder and Rodger Krouse -- but a NJ Devils spokesman said he believes Harris and Blitzer are acting alone on this one.

The 76ers have a 69-79 record under the PE pair's ownership, while the Devils last year were 19-19 and missed the playoffs.

It is important to note that the NJ Devils is a personal investment by Harris and Blitzer, rather than one being made via Apollo or Blackstone. To date, the only U.S. professional sports franchise owned by an actual private equity firm is The Detroit Pistons.

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