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RIM Co-CEO to Buy Nashville Predators: Reports

CNBC.com
Thursday, 24 May 2007 | 7:34 AM ET

Research In Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie will buy the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators, according to several published reports.

Balsillie will pay owner Craig Leipold $220 million for the team, according to Bloomberg, but it is unclear if the franchise will remain in Tennessee.

Balsillie is Canadian and lives in Waterloo, Ontario, where RIM , the maker of the BlackBerrry handheld device, is headquartered.

Leipold said the team would stay in Nashville for next season, but "made no promises for the future," Nashville's NewsChannel 5 reported on its Web site Wednesday. The team has a clause in its 30-year arena lease that allows it to leave after next season if several factors, including average attendance falling below 14,000 a game, are met, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Predators averaged 13,815 fans a game this season.

Last year, Balsillie tried to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, but the deal fell through due to league restrictions on moving the team, the Journal said.

In capturing the Predators, Balsillie trumped Anschutz Entertainment Group, which hoped to move the franchise to Kansas City, Mo.

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