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New York Islanders sale announced; new owners to take majority control in 2016

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After months (or even years?) of speculation, Charles Wang has finally come to an agreement to sell the New York Islanders.

New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has reached an agreement to sell his ownership of the team to former Washington Capitals co-owner Jonathan Ledecky and London investor Scott Malkin.

Newsday first reported the news. The deal would see Ledecky and Malkin hold minority stakes in the Islanders for two seasons, then assume majority control by the 2016-17 season. It's all pending approval from the NHL's board of governors.

"We are pleased to have the opportunity to become partners in the New York Islanders with Charles, and to pursue our shared dream of winning a fifth Stanley Cup for the greatest fans in the NHL," Ledecky said in an announcement from the team.

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Ledecky previously held a 24 percent stake in the Capitals, which he purchased for $58 million in 1999. He later sold to Ted Leonsis with the intention of owning his own franchise back in 2001. He had previously come close to buying the Montreal Canadiens, but they were instead sold to George Gillett. Malkin is the chairman of Value Retail, a United Kingdom-based organization that manages outlet shopping properties in Europe and China.

Wang has been trying to move his stake in the Islanders for some time. Negotiations with Philadelphia lawyer and hedge fund manager Andrew Barroway turn ugly, with Wang reportedly backing away from a previously agreed on price, seeking more money from other potential buyers. Barroway responded by filing a lawsuit for $10 million as a "breakup fee" after Wang, as he put it, backed out of the handshake deal.

Wang's sudden change of heart in talks with Barroway and the increase in asking price was linked to the huge price paid for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, who were sold for a reported $2 billion, and how little owners had paid for NHL teams in the recent past.

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