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Bills sales process ramps up; documents being distributed to possible buyers


with News Albany bureau reporter Tom Precious

The Buffalo Bills haven't hit the market yet.

They're getting closer, though.

Multiple sources have informed The Buffalo News the legal and financial advisers representing the Bills have begun distributing nondisclosure agreements and teaser documents to potential bidders for their review.

These materials are in advance of the more detailed sales book that bidders will use to evaluate the team's assets and debts.

A source familiar with the process told The News the sales book is in the final drafting stage and should be available within a week to 10 days. A loose target for the sales book's release has been right before the July 4 weekend.

Another source with knowledge of the team's sale said the seven-page nondisclosure forms were sent to some prospective bidders within the past 24 hours by Proskauer Rose and Morgan Stanley, the legal and financial advisers retained by the trust that's overseeing the Bills' sale.

Such documents essentially are confidentiality agreements in which would-be bidders attest they will keep secret all information contained within the sales book.

The sales book contains a set of documents the team's lawyers and financial advisers are preparing to show a range of detailed financial information about the Bills, including potential liabilities as well as things like concession and seat sales.

As with many private businesses, the NFL sacredly guards its financial books.

Despite repeated demands from its players union during collective bargaining, the NFL has refused to share team financial information. The Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team required to disclose its data because the league long ago grandfathered its status as a publicly owned club.

Besides the nondisclosure agreement, prospective Bills bidders also received a brief teaser document that discusses the Bills' history, information about Ralph Wilson Stadium and the $130 million in renovations taking place there.

The nondisclosure agreement is pro forma for any NFL team sale and might be sent to parties who haven't even requested it yet. Some individuals or entities being asked to sign the documents likely will not bid on the team.

A Bills source said the nondisclosure agreements and teasers are expected to be sent out in waves over the next couple weeks and that potential suitors who've been vetted quickly began receiving their documents Wednesday.

Michael Cohen, a senior advisor to billionaire Donald Trump, confirmed that Trump received the nondisclosure agreement letter. Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said Trump will sign the nondisclosure form.

"And Mr. Trump remains interested in the Bills,'' Cohen said.

It's not immediately certain who else received the preliminary packet, but sources assumed that former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano, current Sabres owner Terry Pegula and a Toronto group involving Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment executive Larry Tanenbaum and musician Jon Bon Jovi certainly were on the list.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed source, reported Pegula was sent the initial documents.

A spokesman for possible bidder Dean Metropoulos, owner of Pabst Brewing, declined to comment.

  • nflworstteam

    toronto bills, sounds really good

    • Spuds1963

      Not a chance and nobody will outbid Pegula. He's got more cash than anyone after his recent sale and doesn't need a partner. Also Mary Wilson will take slightly less money from anyone who keeps the team in Buffalo. But again she won't have to since Pegula has the most on cash on hand.

    • Polish Prince

      With their recent record they would match the Maple Leafs for futility...but they ain't goin to Canada. Why do think Wilson nixed the Toronto game before he died?

  • Rick C

    I think the interesting question will be whether the Bon Jovi group will be able to annoy Pegula enough to drive up the price of purchase or will Pegula's offer simply be accepted outright? I don't see Metropoulos having enough to outbid Pegula and Golisano is in the same boat. Trump isn't serious and Bon Jovi's group is simply trying to make a name for themselves. I guess the only real question then is: will the new stadium go on the waterfront or at the Perry projects site? I am sure looking forward to hearing all the answers before long.

  • Here we go, again!

    We can only hope that whomever wins the "bidding war" takes these tax-eating leeches and relocates them somewhere else.

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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 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.