George Gillett not expected to bid on Bills
Colorado businessman George Gillett, the former owner of the Montreal Canadiens, is not expected to make a run at purchasing the Buffalo Bills, The Buffalo News has learned.
Gillett, 75, has a long history of sports ownership, dating back to a 22 percent stake in the Miami Dolphins he purchased in 1966 for a little more than $1 million. Since then, he's also owned the Harlem Globetrotters, NASCAR's Evernham Motorsports, and Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, along with partner Tom Hicks.
Gillett is currently the chief operating officer of Booth Creek, a business management company specializing in ski resort operations and administration. In the past, he's had interests in the communications, meatpacking, automotive and ski industries, in addition to his sports ownership. The exact amount of Gillett's fortune is unknown -- it's been estimated at $700 million -- but in the past, he has used a financial tactic known as a leveraged buyout in his business transactions. That is the acquisition of another company using a significant amount of borrowed money.
In the case of his ownership with Liverpool, that backfired when one of Gillett's companies was sued for defaulting on a $70 million loan. Hicks and Gillett ultimately were forced to sell the club.
Gillett's rumored interest in the Bills originally made headlines in October 2011, when, according to local website Buffalo Rising, he attended a game at Ralph Wilson Stadium with Jim Kelly. Connecting the dots, he surfaced as a potential investor in the ownership group Kelly was long rumored to have put together.
Gillett, though, has taken a low profile in recent years -- he has not returned a message seeking comment -- and The News has learned it is unlikely he will make a bid on the Bills.