ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -The Minnesota Wild made a change at the top Thursday, when the team said Bob Naegele was selling his majority stake in the popular club to former Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold.
Naegele and his group of investors formed Minnesota Sports and Entertainment in 1997 when they were awarded the rights by the NHL to an expansion franchise.
Minnesota Sports and Entertainment Vice Chairman Jac Sperling said the deal was expected to close in several months, pending approvals by the City of St. Paul, the league and others. Terms of the deal were not released.
t - and will serve as the foundation for the success of the future.''
The limited partnership owns the Wild as well as the minor-league Houston Aeros, the Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League, the Xcel Energy Center arena and two adjacent facilities, plus a catering business.
The team said in a news release that the sale includes all of the partnership's assets.
Naegele, a native Minnesotan who now lives in Naples, Fla., has been the majority owner and team chairman for the Wild since they entered the NHL.
They've announced sellouts for every game they've ever played at home, a clear success story for the league since allowing the Minnesota North Stars to move to Dallas in 1993.
Leipold completed his $193 million sale of the Predators on Dec. 7 after the NHL's Board of Governors approved the transaction on Nov. 29. He said he lost $70 million since he was granted rights to the expansion franchise in 1997. Nashville began playing in the 1998-99 season, two before Minnesota.
Leipold, a resident of Racine, Wis., said in a prepared statement: ``I have admired Bob Naegele and the entire Wild organization since the first puck dropped in 2000. It is a true privilege to become part of the organization and the hockey community in Minnesota.''
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