Stars president confirms financial woes

Updated: February 5, 2010, 12:24 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

Hicks Sports Group is examing the "possibility of securing new investors or selling a majority stake" in the Dallas Stars, according to a release Thursday.

Hicks Sports Group said it has hired Galatioto Sports Partners to "examine and advise" the team, according to the release. Owner Tom Hicks is not quoted in the release and is currently out of the country.

Team president Jeff Cogen said earlier Thursday the club has had "seasonal cash flow needs" since the Stars and Texas Rangers were separated financially last summer.

"We've been interacting with the banks, who stepped up in the short-term to solve this," Cogen said. "Mr. Hicks is interacting with the leagues to create a long-term solution. Does that mean a sale, equity or other potential opportunities? I'm not sure."

The NHL had no comment.

Cogen, who said the Stars will operate under their current budget, added that he envisions Hicks finding additional investors or selling his stake in the club by the beginning of next season.

"I'm going to continue my job of putting fans in the seats and filling the building, and Joe [Stars general manager Nieuwendyk] will continue in his job of putting together a winning team."

The Hockey News reported Thursday that a source said the CIT group, one of Hicks Sports Group's lenders, is forcing Hicks to sell the club. The report says the asking price is believed to be more than $300 million.

Forbes valued the Stars at $246 million in November, eighth-highest in the National Hockey League. But the value declined by 10 percent over 2008.

"While a sale is not a certainty, it is a possibility," Cogen said in the release. "Mr. Hicks has received numerous inquiries about the team. Those potential investors recognize that the Stars are a success story."

In an interview with ESPNDallas.com last week, Hicks said the potential sale of the Rangers wouldn't impact the Stars because the clubs had separated financially last summer.

"We would intermix funds, and we've physically separated that process," Hicks said in the interview. "So no impact on the Stars."

Hicks has an agreement in place, pending approval from HSG's 40 lenders and 75 percent of Major League Baseball owners, to sell the Rangers and some of the real estate around the ballpark to a group, called Rangers Baseball Express, headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg. Hicks' need to sell the club was a result of HSG's defaulting on $525 million in loans in early 2009. Hicks attempted to renegotiate the loans and even tried to form his own group to retain control of the Rangers. But he agreed to terms last month to sell the club.

Hicks bought the Stars from Norm Green for $84 million in December 1995. The club won the Stanley Cup in 1999.

Hicks also owns 50 percent of Liverpool Football Club, a separate entity from Hicks Sports Group. Various reports in overseas publications have Hicks looking to sell part of his stake in the club.

Richard Durrett covers the Stars and Rangers for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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