Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. said today that an investment group of nine to 10 people is coming together that could collectively buy a 15 to 20 percent share of the hockey team.
Karmanos, in an interview, said all of the investors were based locally, although he did not name any of the individuals. In mid-February, he said he hoped to have a group of 20 or 30 investors, each investing $1 million to $3 million.
"We won't have quite that many, but the ones we will have will invest closer to the higher number ($3 million) than the lower," Karmanos said. "Things are going pretty well. We have had a lot of local people who have shown interest. It doesn't hurt that Forbes magazine calls Raleigh one of the best places to do business and live.
"We're still in the process of going through all the legal documents. It's moving along well. These are people who want to see the Hurricanes thrive and understand their involvement will give the Hurricanes even more exposure in the community."
Karmanos said he was not sure when an announcement would be made on the ownership change, or if one would be made.
"I'm not sure a public announcement is something (the investors) would care to have, to have it publicized," he said. "But it's still an ongoing thing. We're still trying to get more local people."
Karmanos controls 100 percent of the team after buying the 49-percent share of the late Thomas Thewes, his former business partner at Detroit-based Compuware Corp. The team cut back its payroll last season, in part, to better attract potential investors.
Despite the Hurricanes missing the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, the team broke even financially, said Karmanos, who praised the job done by general manager Jim Rutherford.
"Jimmy is always referring to us as a budget team, but the fact of the matter is he has done an outstanding job of having the Hurricanes not far from contending for a Stanley Cup while staying at the lower end of what we have to spend," he said. "We're certainly not a cap team but we're not scraping the bottom, either."
Karmanos announced in early June that he was stepping down as Compuware CEO. Karmanos will remain executive chairman of the board of directors.
"I'm setting my schedule now and I plan to spend at least two days a week in Raleigh, and eventually more in hockey season," he said.