with News Sports Reporter John Vogl
In addition to selling off lucrative assets, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula has been busy reorganizing his business holdings and subsidiaries.
Many believe these moves are further evidence the billionaire will make a run at buying the Buffalo Bills.
Sources have told The Buffalo News that Pegula's wife, Kim, has taken a more active role in running their various companies, including Pegula Sports and Entertainment, and they recently reassigned Sabres employees to the fledgling sports-management group.
WGRZ Channel 2, citing three unnamed sources, reported today Terry Pegula has "high interest" in acquiring the Bills.
"The interest is real," a source with knowledge of the Bills sale told The News on condition of anonymity.
Pegula's natural-gas company, East Resources, was involved Monday in the $1.75 billion sale of drilling acreage in West Virginia and Ohio.
The added liquidity would help Pegula acquire the Bills, although a source with knowledge of the land deal claimed it had been in the works since before Bills founder Ralph Wilson died in March.
The Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars sold two years ago for $1.05 billion and $760 million. The Miami Dolphins went for $1.1 billion in 2009.
The Pegulas recently began streamlining their operations, multiple sources informed The News.
Sabres employees were shifted from the hockey club to Pegula Sports and Entertainment.
The family created Pegula Sports and Entertainment to pull subsidiary properties under one umbrella. The group's Twitter account launched in November, but there wasn't a staff until weeks ago.
Pegula Sports and Entertainment oversees the Sabres, HarborCenter, First Niagara Center, Rochester Americans, Buffalo Bandits, Black River Entertainment and Black River Publishing (a country music record label and publishing company based in Nashville), Five Star Athletes Management (an NFL player representation agency in Atlanta) and Impact Sports Performance (a fitness company in Boca Raton, Fla.).
Pegula sold most of East Resources' holdings to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.7 billion in cash four years ago. He bought the Sabres from Tom Golisano in 2011 for $189 million.