Balsille raises bid for Coyotes

Jim Balsillie is upping his efforts to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton.

Jim Balsillie is upping his efforts to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton.

The co-CEO of Research in Motion has increased his bid for the NHL club to as much as US$242.5 million, according to documents filed by Balsillie’s lawyers in an Arizona bankruptcy court on Monday night.

Balsillie had been offering $212.5 million since the team was placed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in May.

The change is intended to address concerns raised in court by unsecured creditors and could see the City of Glendale — where the Coyotes play their home games — receive an additional $50 million. That money is intended to release the team from its 30-year lease for Arena.

In court filings, Balsillie’s lawyers acknowledge that Glendale would suffer “significant damages” if the team is allowed to moved, but argue that the city would be better off with his offer than the one put forward by the NHL.

Balsillie’s amended purchase agreement guarantees that Glendale would receive $40 million as part of the purchase, provided it is willing to allow the team to continue using the arena “briefly while relocation is implemented.” The exact amount paid to the city is contingent on any relocation fees that might be given to the NHL, but could not fall below $40 million.

Balsillie’s new offer also extends the court’s deadline to accept the sale from Sept. 14 to Sept. 21. Judge Redfield T. Baum urged Balsillie to allow for more time during a hearing last week.

Baum is scheduled to oversee an auction for the team on Thursday.

He’s yet to rule on a request by the NHL to have Balsillie’s bid excluded from the auction process and hasn’t made a decision on the issue of whether the team should stay in Phoenix next season no matter who purchases the club.

The NHL — which favours keeping the franchise in Phoenix for the time being — has bid $140 million for the Coyotes. Ice Edge Holdings, a group of American and Canadian businessmen, have made a bid of $150 million for the team.

The Coyotes are scheduled to open the regular season on Oct. 3.