Sources: As many as eight Bills suitors scheduled for in-person presentations; Tom Golisano finally submits a bid
The Buffalo Bills' trust has begun making in-person presentations to prospective buyers, with as many as eight scheduled over the next three weeks, The Buffalo News has learned.
Only three candidates were confirmed to have submitted non-binding initial bids by the July 29 deadline. But that date turned out to be flexible, and nobody would say for sure whether any other off-the-radar applicants had stepped forward.
A few more apparently emerged.
A source with knowledge of the bidding said former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano finally has placed a bid to buy the Bills. Initial bids supposedly were due nine days ago, but the deadline was extended, with Golisano and others stepping forward -- privately -- with interest in the team.
The trust was said to be concerned that only three bids had come in by the July 29 deadline.
"The family is still seeking the most money, so they're still bringing people to the table," a source said of Morgan Stanley, the bank that is representing the trust selling the team following the death last spring of longtime owner Ralph Wilson.
Two sources told The News today that Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is involved with one of the undisclosed bidders and meeting with the Bills' trust. The News previously reported Jeffrey Gundlach, the bond investor and Amherst High grad, had approached Kelly about joining forces.
NFL sources have informed The News that two presentations were scheduled for this week in the Detroit area, where Ralph Wilson Enterprises is located, and four more next week in Manhattan. One or two meetings could happen the week after next.
Billionaire developer Donald Trump's jet was spotted in Detroit on Wednesday. A source said Trump was the first to listen to the Bills' trust, which is providing more intimate information about the team's sale.
Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim, are scheduled to meet with the trust next week in New York. The group fronted by rock star Jon Bon Jovi is expected to visit next week, too.
The other bidders remain a mystery for now.
A possibility is food-and-beverage magnate Dean Metropoulos, who had expressed interest in checking out the Bills.
Bills CFO Jeffrey Littmann is highly involved in these face-to-face meetings.
Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon has been noticeably absent during Bills training camp, where he normally is a fixture at his alma mater, St. John Fisher College. An NFL source confirmed Brandon has been involved in the presentations along with the team's trustees.
As the sale continues to advance swiftly, a new Bills owner could be approved by NFL owners by the league's autumn meeting Oct. 7 and 8 in Manhattan.
News Albany Bureau reporter Tom Precious contributed to this report.