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Morgan Stanley, Proskauer Rose will handle sale of Bills; prospective owners to be contacted in 30 days

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Giddy up.

The Buffalo Bills have selected the financial and legal firms to handle the team's sale. Morgan Stanley has the bankers. Proskauer Rose has the lawyers.

"This is a big step," Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon said. "Now everything's in place."

Morgan Stanley and Proskauer Rose will conduct an audit of the team and assemble a data book for prospective buyers to review. The Bills announced in a news release their advisers will begin contacting prospective buyers within the next 30 days.

The firms will vet candidates and present a recommendation for the trust that has been overseeing the Bills since founder Ralph Wilson's death in March.

"We'll step aside and let them do their thing," Brandon said.

Proskauer Rose has been involved with sales of Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals. The firm also has been involved in big-league collective bargaining. The ATP Tour and Major League Soccer have been clients in defending lawsuits.

  • Guest

    How can you tell prospective owners you can't move the team?

    • RedNeck Rocket

      By saying "hey you cannot move this team"

    • Hal Jam

      interpretive dance.

    • zbubble

      Any prospective owner already knows it's a long shot. Not only do at least 24 owners have to agree with the move, they can only do so after all other attempts to make the team viable in it's current city have been exhausted. It's all in the NFL Constitution.

    • Dom Pacile

      A lease

  • Jonnno

    I wonder if the sale will be conducted as a one time, sealed bid, give it your best shot and highest offer wins or will it be conducted more like an auction where prospective buyers will be allowed to bid against each other.

    • Tim H

      Thinking that this will be less of an auction, and more that all interested parties submit their best offers, and Ralph Wilson's 4 trustees will review. I'd guess that the trustees will have 2-3 bids that they like the best, and they will attempt to negotiate with these 2-3, to get the best deal for the team.

      Among other items, up for negotiation will most likely include sales price of the team and what geographic region that team will play in.

      • Jonnno

        Thanks Tim . That sounds like the way it will probably go.

  • Please, Say it ain’t so!

    Morgan Stanley should easily be able to see the folly in tring to keep the Bills in Buffalo. I would think that they are working on a commission, so they'll want to get the highest price possible. They won't that if they insist that they stay in Buffalo.

  • Mr.Niagara Falls

    At least the moving trucks will likely be here in broad daylight for us all to wave good bye to our beloved Buffalo Bills.

    • Bill R.

      Can't wait. I will even donate my time to help them pack up.

      • Ridiculo Landsman

        I will donate my time to help you move with them.

  • RedNeck Rocket

    Stanley Morgan played for the Patriots... I smell a conspiracy

    • 8675309Rickie

      Ya he did. I remember the Bills got jobbed in one of the last games he played for the Pats. I hope he doen't 'job' the Bills fans again!

      • RedNeck Rocket

        I think that was the game in 1989 when the Bills lost 33-24 at Foxboro.

  • Bill R.

    Think about it. You are a billionaire. You want to own an NFL Team. You know you need a new stadium. Would YOU build in Buffalo NY?

  • Patrick Krantz

    Want a real shot across the bow? Put the new BILLS stadium in Niagara Falls, USA and that likely wipes out the prospects of a team in Toronto...

    • Lloyd M. Jr.

      Sorry, but a Niagara Falls stadium will not work. Landlocked. No real "highway" access. Traffic gridlock problems(the Wallenda show had traffic tie-ups ranging for hours before and after his performance). Very narrow streets. Make one wrong turn and you're going to Canada instead of the stadium.
      No. I think the Buffalo waterfront would be best. Build nearby the Sabres arena, extend the rail line, add hotels/restaurants there, and you'll definitely have something to brag about.

  • pcone2

    It should have been worked out with Wilson for Buffalo to buy the team from him. Just like Green Bay owns the packers.

  • Lloyd M. Jr.

    Apparently, one of the prospective buyers is Tom Golisano.

    For those of you who don't remember too well when Mr. Golisano owned the Sabres, let me remind you of a few things...

    Firstly: for all his effort to keep the Sabres in Buffalo and Niagara after John Rigas' fiscal collapse, he failed where it mattered most... the area of putting together a Stanley Cup champion team. The Sabres came oh so close in the 2006 playoffs, but moves by Golisano and Company set the team backwards the next season(and for those who try to bring up the President's Trophy... sorry, but the President's Trophy is NOT the objective of playing a season in the NHL... The STANLEY CUP is the goal).

    All the Sabres needed were a few top-caliber forwards and defensemen (players like Zdeno Chara, Brendan Shanahan, Ryan Smyth, and Doug Weight were available); they could've also made an effort to keep JP DuMont, Mike Grier, and Jay McKee. Had they made these kinds of moves in the summer of 2006, they could've realized a Stanley Cup by the next summer. However, the moves they made led them from a 7-game exit against Carolina in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals... to a 5-game exit against Ottawa in the 2007 Eastern Finals. The team performance and quality turned ever downward after this.

    In the end, Golisano essentially played the game of "Flip this Franchise," rather than show some dedication and commitment towards giving Sabres fans what they desired most... a Stanley-Cup-winning team.

    Now, I would like for the Buffalo Bills to show they can compete and win; Ralph Wilson's history as Bills owner was nothing to be proud about, as he failed to put forth a consistently competitive team throughout his tenure. Save for the 1960s AFL titles, and the early 1990s teams, the Bills never won the Super Bowl, and were a mediocre(at best) team under his tutelage. However, Mr. Golisano needs to realize that, should he own the team, he needs to show commitment and dedication... YEAR AFTER YEAR... towards putting forth a Super-Bowl-quality team; there is no more room for teasing the fans along, only to tank out when crunch time comes up, and there is no space for the "Flip this Franchise" game.

    One big reason for the Sabres' failure in the Golisano era was Larry Quinn. If Mr. Quinn is part of the Buffalo Bills organization under a Golisano ownership in any capacity, the Bills will go to pot. Mark my words.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.