Major Blues shareholder looking to sell majority stake in franchise

While the St. Louis Blues are not for sale, the largest shareholder in the team is looking to sell its stake.

After reported Monday there were “rumblings of an ownership change in St. Louis,” it was announced that TowerBrook Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, is looking to sell its majority stake in the team, which was purchased in 2006.

Private equity firms are typically not involved in professional sports teams because they are more short-term investors. But TowerBrook said in a release that it joined the Blues ownership group largely because of its personal relationship with Blues principal owner and chairman Dave Checketts, who runs the SPC Worldwide company that is the Blues’ managing partner.

“We knew that (Checketts), along with his partners, would help revive this franchise and they have delivered since day one,” TowerBrook said in a release. “It now sits on a very solid foundation, one that we have been proud to help rebuild.”

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The Blues’ attendance has skyrocketed since the Checketts group bought the team. In 2006-07, the Blues were dead last in the NHL in attendance with an average of 12,520 per game. This past season, the Blues were seventh in the league with an average of 18,883 per game. However, it’s believed the team is still not profitable.

SPC Worldwide has hired Citibank to find investors to take over TowerBrook’s share of the franchise. The other Blues primary investor is St. Louis businessman Tom Stillman.

“Together, we have built a strong foundation for success and stability in St. Louis,” SPC Worldwide said in a statement. “We knew at the outset that our private equity partners at TowerBrook had defined investment and operational objectives, which have now been reached.”