Report: Ron Burkle’s share of Pittsburgh Penguins in play

Co-owns pro hockey franchise with former Penguin Mario Lemieux; in talks with fellow billionaire, BoSox owner John Henry

Los Angeles /
Nov.November 17, 2021 11:00 AM
Ron Burkle and Fenway Sports Group LLC’s John Henry (right) (Getty)
Ron Burkle and Fenway Sports Group LLC’s John Henry (right) (Getty)

Los Angeles billionaire and real estate investor Ron Burkle is in talks to sell one of his biggest and most high-profile assets — the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise of the National Hockey League.

The potential buyer is Fenway Sports Group LLC, the holding company of financial industry billionaire John Henry. Fenway Sports Group owns the Boston Red Sox and the Premier League’s Liverpool F.C., according to the Wall Street Journal.

Burkle and former National Hockey League great Mario Lemieux have owned the Penguins since 1999. They helped pull the franchise out of bankruptcy and have seen the team win three Stanley Cup championships during their ownership.

The deal would see Burkle divest entirely, with Lemieux retaining an ownership stake.

Burkle’s stake is reportedly larger than Lemieux’s stake, although the billionaire real estate investor has generally left the operations of the franchise to the Hall of Famer.

Burkle was born in Pomona on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, and built his fortune through his private equity firm, Yucaipa Companies, which today has a diverse portfolio of investments.

This year the firm purchased the former headquarters of the American Stock Exchange at 86 Trinity Place in New York City and last year invested $100 million in private members club Soho House.

The firm has had some trouble this year as well. In May, it was facing foreclosure on its NoMad Hotel in New York, but in October had sold the ground lease for the property to Safehold, Inc.

Burkle personally invests in real estate as well and is reported to be an architecture buff. He bought Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House in 2011 for $4.5 million, restored it, and sold it for $18 million in 2019. That was a record for a Wright-designed home.

In 2018, he purchased the former Toluca Lake home of entertainer Bob Hope for $15 million and last year he bought Michael Jackson’s infamous “Neverland Ranch” property in Santa Barbara for $22 million.

[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch





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