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Golisano Signs Agreement to Buy Buffalo Sabres

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Tom Golisano

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – It appears that nearly a year of uncertainty surrounding the Buffalo Sabres franchise is coming to an end. Rochester Billionaire Thomas Golisano held a news conference Friday afternoon to announce his acquisition of the team.

Golisano has signed an asset purchase agreement to buy the bankrupt Sabres. He must now seek final approval of the purchase from US Bankruptcy Court in Buffalo. His offer was presented to Judge Michael Kaplan Friday morning. If all goes as planned, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the sale will be finalized by April 10th.

At first, Golisano would not say how much he's spending on his acquisition of the Sabres. He then admitted it would top $70 million. Papers filed with US Bankruptcy Court indicate the total financial package, including paying off a loan to build HSBC Arena, would top $92 million.

Golisano confirmed he would not be seeking any government aid to finance his purchase. But he did not rule out tapping existing government incentives programs available to all businesses.

Adelphia Communications, the Sabres largest creditor, approved the sale to Golisano. Adelphia interim CEO Erland Kailbourne was on hand for Friday's annoucement. Bettman said Kailbourne played a key role in the operation of the club during the past ten months.

Last month, Buffalo businessman Mark Hamister dropped out of the running to buy the Sabres after he couldn't line up about $40 million in government aid that he was seeking.

It was late last March that the financial problems of former Sabres owner John Rigas came to light, throwing the franchise into turmoil.