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Report: Panthers' sale close to a done deal

The SportsXchange

The struggling Florida Panthers are on the verge of being sold to an investor, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The Post cited a source as saying a deal is imminent and should be announced in the next few weeks. Various reports indicate there are two serious bidders for the franchise.

The newspaper identified the potential buyer as being from New York. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported that the individual is Virtu Financial CEO Vince Viola, a former minority owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets.

South Florida businessman Cliff Viner is the current majority owner of the Panthers, who not only are losing money but are ranked 26th of 30 NHL teams in attendance and have made the playoffs only once in the past 13 seasons. The team finished with the worst record in the NHL last season.

According to reports, there are no plans to move the franchise from south Florida. The Panthers are celebrating their 20th anniversary this season.

In the past two years, the NHL has helped find owners for financially troubled teams in Phoenix, New Jersey, St. Louis and Dallas and assisted in the Atlanta-to-Winnipeg relocation for the Thrashers-turned-Jets.
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