Skip to main content

Pegulas seen pulling away in Bills race as Bon Jovi group reportedly will submit adjusted bid today


Sources close to the Bills sale say the Pegulas' pursuit has been flawless so far. The other groups are way behind and leaking oil well short of the finish line.

Two sources connected to Jon Bon Jovi's group told The Buffalo News there has been serious soul-searching within.

But after a week of reflection, a source close to Bon Jovi's group informed The Buffalo News this afternoon it will submit an adjusted initial bid today.

The source also confirmed the story first reported by the Toronto Sun that Bon Jovi's original bid was rejected last week. The initial offer was deemed financially insufficient and didn't include enough assurances about the Bills' long-term future in Western New York.

Sources close to the rock star and his Toronto-based partners told The News that some of Bon Jovi's influential NFL allies have suggested he walk away from the sale because the process has trampled his reputation.

But another line of thinking is that pulling out would be a bad look, too, and that Bon Jovi wants to see the process through.

Representatives for Bon Jovi and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

The Buffalo Bills' sales process technically isn't over.

Every day, however, Terry and Kim Pegula gain an even tighter stranglehold on the team.

Bon Jovi is considered NFL ownership material, but it has become clear in league circles his future almost certainly will be with another team. The rock star's involvement in the Bills sale has become toxic because he's aligned with Toronto partners who have wanted to bring a team to Canada.

Bon Jovi's open letter printed in Sunday's edition of The News was considered a public-relations disaster. One representative from another ownership group called it "ridiculous." One of Bon Jovi's allies said it was "stupid." Fans were offended because the rah-rah letter offered no guarantees.

Bon Jovi's chances seem bleaker with today's Toronto Sun story that his group's non-binding initial bid was rejected. The group reportedly didn't offer enough money or enough assurances the Bills would remain in Western New York.

The Toronto Sun reported Morgan Stanley, the investment bank overseeing the sale for Ralph Wilson's trust, wants Bon Jovi's group to resubmit a bid, but there was no indication whether the group would.

News sources familiar with Bon Jovi's group say he still insists on remaining the principal owner of a club. For that to happen, the NFL constitution and bylaws require that he pay for at least 30 percent of the team.

His Toronto partners, Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and Edward Rogers of Rogers Communications, certainly have the financial wherewithal to compete with the Pegulas' net worth.

But there will come a point where Bon Jovi cannot meet the 30 percent threshold and retain organizational control.

Sources have told The News there has been discussion within the Bon Jovi group about the lofty price Pegula appears willing to pay, probably well above the record $1.1 billion price the Miami Dolphins fetched in 2009.

The Bills are believed be worth such a sticker price in Toronto or Los Angeles, but not in Western New York. News sources also say the Bon Jovi group would be willing to go higher for a different NFL team, not for one with a valuation in the bottom half of the league.

Morgan Stanley has had difficulty in drumming up sufficient interest in the team. Unless there's a secret suitor out there, only three parties stepped forward when the non-binding initial bids were supposed to be submitted last Tuesday.

From all accounts, though, the Pegulas have been enough attention.

Terry and Kim Pegula had the potential to be the perfect package as Bills owners from the start. Sources involved in the sales process and within the NFL claim the Pegulas' approach to bidding on the team has underscored their desirability.

While the Pegulas have remained silent, Bon Jovi and billionaire developer Donald Trump appear to violated terms of the nondisclosure agreement by going public with their interest in buying the Bills.

While those three candidates submitted their non-binding initial bids by Morgan Stanley's deadline last Tuesday, Tom Golisano reportedly will make an offer whenever he pleases.

The Pegulas appear to be the preferred bidders not only for the fans, but also the region's most influential politicians. There would be no concerns about moving the Bills across the border with them as owners.

Among NFL owners, the Pegulas will be an easy sell to join their exclusive club, especially if the Pegulas are willing to spend a record sum to acquire the Bills. Terry Pegula, as owner of the Buffalo Sabres, already has been vetted as a deserving sports businessman.

Bon Jovi's biggest strengths heading into the process were highly placed connections within the league -- namely Kraft, Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

But those people might now be advising him to forget the Bills and worry about buying another team down the road.

  • zubalove

    This is my favorite news story in a long time.

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      Damn right!

  • Don Manuszewski

    Not sure how much it matters, but if the Pegulas bought the team they'd be the 5th wealthiest owners in the NFL. (based on Forbes 2013 stats)

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      It is VERY important! More important is his modest upbringing - he is one of us. Most important is that he will be the smartest owner in the NFL.

  • WillMartin

    I hear rumors they are already working on the plans for fire places and hot tubs in the locker room just like the Sabres.

    • Rick Hutchinson

      Must be a man lover close by?

    • William Kyriakakos

      so what exactly is the problem for an owner to provide up-to-date facilities that improve the morale of the team?

  • DM

    There has to be more candidates out there than we got right. Definitely do not want Bon Jovie for fear of team leaving Buffalo. But Pegula, since he took over the Sabres aren't they in last place and this a team he loves. I hear of what a good guy he is and the development of downtown, but that does mean that he would be good for the Bills. He should worry about the Sabres first and get them on the right track before owning another team. Their has to be someone else who wants to buy the Bills and keep them in Buffalo.

    • BullGuy

      There is Golisano and Trump but they don't want to overpay.....and whoever buys the team will have to overpay. Pegula is likely willing to overpay.

      • rooks

        Why do they have to overpay ,it seems there are very few interested buyers.

        • WHAT?

          Because the opportunity to buy a team happens very rarely. The Dolphins, for example, were purchased for much more than their estimated value, and this is despite a horrible fan base.

    • El Kabong

      When he first bought the team, Pegula opened up his checkbook to bring high-priced free agents here. When it became apparent the team wasn't going anywhere, they dumped most of the veterans (and the coach and GM). Pegula's main fault was keeping Regier as long as he did.

  • James Miller

    DM, the Sabres are bad because of Darcy Regier and Lindy Ruff. Pegula kept them around for a couple of years and when it became clear they weren't going to turn it around, he cleaned house. Pegula has hired a good staff for the Sabres and it takes longer in hockey to rebuild a team. I don't think the Sabres' struggles over the past few years is an indication of Pegula's ownership ability.

    • Leonard Farrell

      Dont blame Lindy Ruff - he took us to the brink a couple of times and has done a good job in Dallas. He got rooked in a call against Dallas and we lost too many defenseman against Carolina. Darcy is a different story; if he and Rigas had moved Peca (or resigned him) in 2001 we may have won it that year too....

  • BIG Franky

    not for nuthin, the 87-year-old owner of the Saints is in poor health and today he was rushed to the hospital for the second time in 6-months....sounds like the guy is one foot in the grave already.... maybe that team is a better target for Bon Jovi?

    • Regan Flint

      Now now there is a lot of class. Are the Toronto vultures looking for dying NFL owners again. Good luck getting the Saints out of New

      • BIG Franky

        that is not even close to what I said.... Bon Jovi could care less about Toronto... he wants a team.... he doesn't care if it is in Toronto or New Orleans.... of course he wouldn't move it.... only reason he'd move the Bills is because he is aligned with people from Toronto.... if he bid on Saints, it'd probably have different money behind it.

    • kevin maguire

      I also read The rams, the raiders and possibly the Jags are looking to move to new cities. the raiders have been connected to San Antonio. the rams maybe back to LA and Jacksonville to London!

  • Jesse

    Wilson Estate - Please sell to Pegula. He's got the money and he's the best possible
    owner for Buffalo. He's already shown his passion for the area, and will be a
    great addition to "the club". Let's put this drama behind us already!

  • Guest

    LOL, Buffalo News gives false info, I thought Bon Jovi was leaking info? How would Buffalo News know what Pegula is bidding if its Confidential. Glad I can get real news from other sites and that make up crap so they can sell news

    • WHAT?

      Gee, posting the same thing under a different name? Why? Because of all your negative comments before have ruined your credibility?

  • doowire

    LOL, Buffalo News gives false info, I thought Bon Jovi was leaking info? How would Buffalo News know what Pegula is bidding if its Confidential. Glad I can get real news from other sites. Buffalo News likes to twist things so they can keep readers

    • El Kabong

      Then why are you here, other than to troll as usual? Face it, Skippy. The Toronto dream is dead. Go start another blog about the Toronto Jaguars or something.

    • Dom Pacile


    • Regan Flint

      Ummm...they are getting part of this information from an article written by a CANADIAN in Toronto who works for the TORONTO SUN. The Toronto Sun writer has connections to MLSE [Rogers]. He is the SUN'S main NFL football writer.

  • MadAsHeckAndNotGonnaTakeIt

    Up yours Bon Jovi. You ignorant piece of dirt. You should have known. Trying to trick the good (and ferocious) people of Buffalo of your false intensions with our team is futile. LONG LIVED THE PEGULA's. BUFFALO LOVES YOU!!!!

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      Ditto!!!!! Our beauty is in our unfiltered, unabashed passion.

  • Rain

    Maybe as a consolation prize we sell him the Hamburg School district.

    • Art Vandelay

      If he agrees to move it to Toronto, we'll cut him a killer deal!

    • lsikut

      No Thanks (a sad Hamburg resident)

  • tsar

    Bon Jovi

    • Washnfold

      Well said.

  • GoBucs

    Seriously, if he can't afford the 30% to buy the Bills, how can he afford it to buy any other team? It's not like some other team is going to be put up for sale with a cheaper price tag. Maybe it's time to consider JBJ irrelevant. He doesn't have the cash and dumping Richie Sambora isn't enough to put him over the top.

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      You are dead-on bulls-eye. JBJ is despondent because he now realizes that $1.3B is now the FLOOR for all future team sales so his stake will always fall short.

  • rooks

    If BonJovi is out and Trump was never in, then why should the Pegulas overpay? They should snap up the team for $700 million, not $1.3 billion.

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      Let me explain this in simple terms: 1. Because at $700 million, most of the 31 interested bidders would still be in hunt. 2. More importantly, Pegula knew that Bon Jovi would be forced out because his outlay was limited to $300M. 3. Finally, it is an offer that is reasonable based on the pending network contracts.

  • Susan

    Shame on you Buffalo fans for your negative comments again Bon Jovi. You are probably the drunken ones who drink to intoxication at the games and have no idea what you are talking about.

    • adminsnark

      Could you please elaborate on what Buffalo fans don't know?

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      Go back to Toronto. Your heart throb failed to steal our team for you. We kept our team. Go do your curling thing, eh!!

    • Matthew T Vassallo

      Because we hate a guy whose already made it clear he wants to move our team? Yeah it must just be the drunk people. Not the loyal fans who have loved this team since they were kids. Or the business owners who get customers on football Sunday for the games. Just the drunk people hate him. Seems Seems the only people who don't hate him from buffalo are the women who get wet because they think he's hot, we'd rather you all move to New Jersey to be near him but leave the team

    • kevin maguire

      You susan, are obviously ignorant to the sale process. Its also obvious that you are NOT from WNY. So mind your own bees wax! The Bills ARE BUFFALO! Without them, the city would crumble. Bon Jovi plans on moving the team to Toronto...So yeah, Buffalonians are not that fond of the 80's hair band singer

    • Chris Elardo

      Get over yourself. I think Mr. Bon Jovi can fight his own battles.

      Tell him and his vultures to first stop lying about their intentions, and to go circle over another city's team, then. The Bills aren't going anywhere.

    • Orvis Norwakowski

      Susan your a tool :)

    • mr. wonderful

      Again, Susan, go make cupcakes for the kids, and stick to washing dinner dishes and floors. Really.

  • doowire

    Bon Jovi is the front runner for the Rogers Group.

    • tazkatt

      Rogers and MLSE can t get involved...NFL have doubts about them...corporations can not own NFL team....why would they want anybody who has had anything to do with MLSE....Multiple Losers Seeking Empathy
      and Rogers....know 0 about sports....son Rogers Jr loves tennis....laughable Ms Hot SHot Bouchard lost her first match....lot of unsold tickets in Montreal
      for the this time of the year..players dropping out....Bills are not going anywhere....Godell will not allow

  • Michael DiPasquale

    First thing they need to do is bring back the old Buffalo logo!

  • Polish Prince

    "Bon" Voyage..go back to New Jersey...a toxic waste dump is looking for a new stadium site.

  • Rick Hutchinson

    If Pegulas keeps buying Buffalo sports teams,he just might eventually get a winner, NOT!!!!!

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      Funny. NOT!!!!!

    • Art Vandelay

      An astute and mature evaluation, NOT!!!!!

    • Chris Elardo

      Bwahahahahehehehohohohaheho! You are hilarious. Oh, and it's Pegula, not Pegulas, genius.

      • Hank Hunt

        Lol!! I can imagine how long it took for Ricky to come up with that cornball comment? Smh

    • Possum

      John Pegula and his wife Kim should be commended for looking out for Buffalo. Keep in mind they could take their money to any city they want.
      Tom Galisano should be commended also.

    • jm

      Buffalo Bandits? Hellooooo?!?! lol

  • Buffalo Bill Nelson

    So here's the deal: The estate must pay the inheritance tax by late December. They need the proceeds from the sale to do so. While they could borrow the money at 1-2%, why pay that interest if you don't need to. The only owners' meeting between now and then is in October, The only bid that the NFL will want to review and approve in October is one that keeps the Bills here. If JBJ's bid was accepted by the trust and approved in the October meeting, the remaining home games would probably become a war zone. The stadium would be destroyed, and there would be skirmishes with riot police. Think not? You are kidding yourself. It would be an absolutely terrible scene that we would all bemoan, but it would happen nonetheless. I'd think long and hard about attending. Russ and Roger and Chuck and Andrew all know that and fear that. They aren't stupid. Hence, JBJ is being told to step down. It really does not matter because Terry landed a right uppercut to his effeminate chin.

    JBJ thought we were a bunch of hayseeds. Fool.

    • Buffalo Fan

      I thought the point of leaving it to a trust was to avoid the estate tax creating liquidity problems?

      • Buffalo Bill Nelson

        You are correct up to a point: If Mary wanted to own the team and it was left only to her, as the widow she would owe no inheritance taxes. However, Ralph's daughters are not her daughters and he wanted to leave them an inheritance. Setting aside all the difficulties in having a family c0-own a team, none of them cared to do so. So a trust had to be created to sell the team and then divide the proceeds as Ralph specified in the trust directive. I don't think Mary will pay inheritance taxes, but his daughters will.

    • tazkatt

      good post by buffalo bill nelson...settled by cannot be moved anywhere until tax....leave this until last minutes....Mrs Wilson must be 80+....

    • Jacob

      You need to get your facts straight on the tax issue. The estate will never pay an inheritance tax. It will pay an estate tax of up to 35%. That will not be due in December. It will be due when all of the assets are liquidated, all debts are paid including funeral expenses and executor costs. This would include Morgan Stanley's payment for assisting in the sale of the team. I am most certain that there is a board that people have been placed on to execute the will and assist the executor. Settling Mr. Wilson's estate will take years most likely. Parts of the assets that have been worked around or removed via expensive "lawyering" from the estate may be distributed earlier.

      The inheritance tax will come after all debt is settled and the estate tax has been paid. Then individuals will receive their portion of the what they are entitled to.

      All of this depends on the state that the estate is set up in as well. Some states have estate taxes, some inheritance taxes, some have both.

      • Buffalo Bill Nelson

        Jacob, thanks for the clarification. I never paid any attention to estate vs, inheritance taxes. The BN reported recently that a big tax payment is due in December which was one reason the trust is trying to move quickly on the sale. Inheritance taxes would not be due prior to the heirs receiving their inheritance, so that means it must be an estate taax. But, that contradicts your explanation. So either you are a dumb, know-it-all, two-bit lawyer, or the BN is a dumb, know-it-all, two-bit paper. I may need to assume both are true. Anyway, thanks for your time.

        • Jacob

          I don't know why you have to be rude. It is common sense. His wife took owner ship of the team. There is a martial exception on estate taxes. If she items the team, there is no estate tax. If she doesn't, they will have to pay up to 40% in estate tax on the team. There will need to be taxes paid. Mr. Wilson's personal return will need to be filed. The estates income taxes will need to be filed.

          Again, his wife can take the team and estate taxes would not be due until her passing. I would surmise that any taxes on the sale of the team will be in the form of capital gains taxes allowing them to reduce the tax rate by almost 10%. Hard to believe but that 10% could be worth around 100 million dollars.

  • Susan

    You all are assuming that Bon Jovi will take the team to Toronto - you know what happens when you assume - you make an _ss out of you and me.

    • rocktivity

      Unless Jon is putting up more than fifty per cent of the money (and none of the operating capitial) he'll be outvoted by The Toronto brothers" at every turn. Why WOULDN'T they try to move the team to Toronto? And if Jon doesn't want to go along, they can certainly afford to buy him out.

      Rogers needs Tanenbaum's sports franchise experience; Tanenbaum needs Rogers' multibillion-dollar operating captial; Jon needs them both. But they need Jon for one reason only: As the American crowbar with which they will pry the team out of Buffalo.

    • William Kyriakakos

      gee I didn't hear that one when I was five-years-old

  • joe

    even if bon jovi owns 30% he does not own 70%. say what you like but the guys in the toronto group are not stupid. there will by some way built into the contract for them to buy out bon jovi at some point and do what they like!!

  • wesmantooth

    Can they just end the drama and approve Pegula? He is the perfect owner for the Bills. He loves the people of Buffalo, he has made more progress with downtown than anyone could have dreamed of, he has the money, and he has a great family. I have a one year old son I want an owner who understands the importance of keeping the team here so I will not have to share stories with my son about the team we used to have like my father always shared with me about the Braves! It's about time western New York stands up to the big cities and says enough is enough. And Pegula is the man to lead that charge. The NFL and the Bills trust need to do the right thing here.

    • BuffaloFan4Life

      You are right on, wesman. I used to go to many Buffalo Braves games as a teenager in the 70's. Unfortunately, the 70's was a down decade for the NBA. Can you imagine this?: they used to tape delay playoff games on the west coast back then! Oh there was plenty of talent, but the almost decade long recession hit the NBA hard, and TV money was a joke compared to today.

      The Braves owner Paul Snyder, had his sights set on building Darien Lake Amusement Park, so he had no problems unloading the Braves to the idiot of all idiots, John Y. Brown. Brown sold the team down the river to some sort of strange "buy, trade and sell" franchises deal where the Braves first became part of the Boston Celtics, then the Celtics owners actually "traded" their entire franchise to San Diego or some "only Buffalo" strange type of transaction. That's why you may have read some posts out here that the Braves were actually the Celtics for about 5 minutes, and not exactly the Clippers. Who really knows? Bottom line, when the NBA took off with Bird and Magic being drafted together in 1979-1980, Buffalo no longer had an NBA team. Perfect timing, huh?

      So my long winded (as always) point is that I agree with you 110%. It appears that the Pegula's are simply out-classing the competition and doing everything right. I too hope they end up as the second owners in Buffalo Bills history!

  • busybody246

    Do we really need any more reasons to hate Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft?

    • lamarred1118

      "hate" is such a strong word, "absolutely loathe" is probably more accurate a term

  • tazkatt

    Update...Provincial and Federal canadian governments told Bon Jovi/Rent A Bum.. $$ to build a new stadium and/or to increase size of the Rogers centre....same with BMO soccer field...0 $$$....Canada different than the USA in this respect....not giving billionaires $$$ to pay to millionaires...Province of ontario has huge deficit...going to have to lay off thousands of employees....TO is not a football city...lucky to get 25,000 tops for CFL games....many HS in TO do not have football programs...immigrant families won t let their kids play...too dangerous...rough..same with hockey.

    • Buffalo Bill Nelson

      Great post. So, that means the owners would need to build their own stadium because that dome certainly does not meet NFL standards. So take Pegula's $1.3B bid that they would need to beat. Tack on $400M to break the current lease and then add a minimum of $750M to build a new stadium and the JBJ group is looking at roughly $2.5B to enact their heist. Then, add in the lost revenue for any lame duck seasons they need to spend in Buffalo as we boycott the team and/or the lost revenue from playing in the Rodgers Dome with its smaller seating capacity and limited suites. The true cost could easily soar to over $3B. Plus, the NFL would have a black eye and the team would be unable to attract free agents during the upheaval. Give it up Bon Jovi while you are merely a pariah and not entangled in messy lawsuits stemming from an ill-fated investment.

  • Terry Pegula

    The team will be mine. You're welcome Western NY.

    • zubalove

      Damn it! You just violated the NDA!

  • William Kyriakakos

    uh you said that already

  • Reggie Elder

    Like the words from the group, THE BAND PERRY,"all I wanna be is DONE"! I just want this sale thing to be done! I live in Minnesota,and i'm getting sick of hearing the Vikings people talk to much mess about the Toronto Bills. Now,I wish I would not have supported them when they where going through all that "moving to LA",talk before they got approved for their new stadium. Kinda crazy!!

Twitter Buzz

  • News Staff
  • Bills Players
  • All

Photo Galleries

Get the newsletter

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.