NFL

Trump will bid on Bills, but doesn't expect to win ownership

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The Canadian Press
7/29/2014 9:21:28 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - Donald Trump says he is unlikely to be the next owner of the Buffalo Bills because he's "not going to do something totally stupid" to make the team his.

"I'll be bidding, but many other people will be bidding," the billionaire businessman said on Fox News ahead of a Tuesday deadline for prospective owners to submit initial offers.

The National Football League franchise is for sale following the death in March of owner Ralph Wilson.

"I would say the chances are very, very unlikely, because I'm not going to do something totally stupid," Trump said, "Maybe just a little bit stupid, but not totally stupid."

Others who have shown interest in buying the Bills include Buffalo Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, former Sabres owner B. Thomas Golisano and a group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi and Canadian partners Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and the Rogers family of Toronto-based Rogers Communications.

Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen told The Associated Press the mogul's bid package would be submitted Tuesday afternoon.

The Pegulas also submitted a bid, according to a person familiar with the sale process who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the sale is private.

The Bills most recently were valued by Forbes at $870 million but are expected to sell for at least $1 billion, partly because NFL teams rarely go on the market.

"I'm ... somebody that likes to buy for the right price," Trump said. "Right now you see pricing of certain types of assets - including real estate assets - they're going through the roof."

About 10 prospective ownership groups submitted nondisclosure agreements to Morgan Stanley, the banking firm overseeing the Bills sale on behalf of Wilson's estate. Not all will necessarily follow up with a bid.

Because the sale process is private, Morgan Stanley will not make names of would-be buyers public. The firm will review the initial non-binding bids and is expected within the next week to determine which groups may progress to the next stage of bidding.

The new owner could be identified by Labor Day and be presented to NFL owners for approval during league meetings in early October.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Bon Jovi group who have been exploring potential stadium sites scheduled a meeting with upstate New York developer Scott Congel, a person familiar with the meeting told the AP on Tuesday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the group has not disclosed who it is meeting with and the person wasn't authorized to do so.

Congel, the son of Pyramid Management Group owner Robert Congel, has proposed building a stadium on a former mall site in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca. Syracuse-based Pyramid is one of the largest shopping mall developers in the northeast.

The AP reported last week that the Bon Jovi group had conducted a feasibility study that included building a stadium in Toronto but also planned to meet with two Buffalo-area developers. A lease agreement essentially locks the Bills into staying in Buffalo through the 2019 season. It is unclear if the group would eventually want to move the team to Toronto.

Donald Trump (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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