Preds owner Craig Leipold extends exclusive negotiating rights to local group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Owner Craig Leipold decided Wednesday to give more time to the local investors trying to buy his Nashville Predators and keep them from leaving town.

The local investors put down US$10 million as a deposit in August for the $193-million purchase and faced a midnight deadline Wednesday to finalize the sale or lose exclusive negotiating rights.

They have been working with Metro Nashville officials to revise the team’s arena lease to give them a better chance of making rather than losing money. Leipold is selling because he estimated he has lost $70 million in his 10 years of ownership.

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Leipold said in a statement released by the team late Wednesday afternoon that he had met with Mayor Karl Dean for an update on where the city is in the lease negotiations with the group led by David Freeman. He also met with Freeman for an update on the group’s progress toward finalizing this deal.

He did not say how much more time he is giving them to finish the deal but said he looks forward to completing the sale.