Islanders owner Charles Wang open to offers to buy team
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Islanders owner Charles Wang said Friday he is "willing to listen" to offers to buy the team, but no deal is close and he is not on the verge of selling.
"In recent months, there have been numerous expressions of interest in the purchase of the New York Islanders," Wang said in a statement. "As I have consistently stated, I have been and remain willing to listen. However, potential buyers' expressions of interest in the team or even my listening to them does not mean that any deal will be reached."
No potential buyers have been identified.
A spokeswoman for Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he has no interest in purchasing another professional sports franchise in the United States.
Wang signed a 25-year lease on Oct. 24, 2012, to move the Islanders to Brooklyn after years of trying to get a new or refurbished arena built at the current Nassau Coliseum site. The Islanders will begin playing in Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the 2015-16 season.
As part of the move, the Islanders were to merge business operations with the Nets for an annual fee, leaving the Islanders as only a hockey operation.
The Islanders and Barclays Center announced in a joint news release in July that Barclays would oversee the business operations for the team. A source confirmed a report that the Islanders took back the business operations of the team last month.
The Islanders were valued at $195 million by Forbes in its most recent ranking last November. The team is in last place and has reached the playoffs only once in the past seven seasons.
Eight NHL teams have been sold since 2010, including three since the end of the most recent lockout in 2012.
New Yorker Vincent Viola purchased the Florida Panthers last season, and Philadelphia businessman Josh Harris bought the Devils, though both of those purchases included the teams' home arenas.
A Newsday review of the Islanders' annual audited financial reports in 2009 showed that Wang had been spending an average of $23 million per year to keep the franchise operating.With Jim Baumbach