Hurricanes owner values team at $420 million, wants investor ‘successor’

 (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

Peter Karmanos has owned the Carolina Hurricanes since 1994, back when they were the Hartford Whalers. Now 71 years old, he doesn’t intend to own them forever, which is surprising, because we always figured he was rich enough find a vampire and acquire immortality, like that guy on “The Strain.”

But Karmanos tells Rick Westhead of TSN that he’s actively looking for a new ownership partner, working with New York investment bank Allen & Co. to find someone that will commit “hundreds of millions of dollars into the team but let me control it.” Which sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you can get it.

"What I am trying to do is set up a reasonable succession plan because I'm not one of those guys who thinks I am going to go on forever," Karmanos told TSN.

"I'd like to have a partner again...but someone will have to pay dearly for it. (The Hurricanes are) a valuable franchise despite what some of your folk in Canada say about them. I don't see a basketball or baseball or football team coming here. We're going to be the lone ranger here (in Raleigh) for quite some time."

How valuable? Karmanos values the Hurricanes at $420 million. That’s the original price that Charles Wang was going to accept from Andrew Barroway for the New York Islanders before that deal went sideways. Estimates are that Wang eventually sold for $480 million.

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Are they worth it? TSN cites “sports investment bankers” who claim the Hurricanes lose money every season. Karmanos disagrees.

"A steady team should be able to make money, assuming they spend at the midpoint of the cap, and that they do their work in their market to sell tickets and advertising," he said. "We have improved in the 20 years I have owned the team. This is a real business. It's not a foregone conclusion that we lose money."

Or a foregone conclusion someone will offer up hundreds of millions of dollars to buy in either.