Bills reportedly taking first steps in process of selling the franchise - The Buffalo News
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Bills reportedly taking first steps in process of selling the franchise

The Buffalo Bills haven’t hit the market yet.

They’re getting closer, though.

Multiple sources have informed The Buffalo News that the legal and financial advisers representing the Bills have begun distributing nondisclosure agreements and teaser documents to potential bidders for their review.

These materials are in advance of the more detailed sales book bidders will use to evaluate the team’s assets and debts.

A source familiar with the process told The News the sales book is in the final drafting stage and should be available within a week to 10 days. A loose target for the sale book to be released has been right before the July 4 weekend.

Another source with knowledge of the team’s sale said the seven-page nondisclosure forms were sent to some prospective bidders within the past 24 hours by Proskauer Rose and Morgan Stanley, the legal and financial advisers retained by the trust that is overseeing the Bills’ sale.

Such documents essentially are confidentiality agreements in which would-be bidders attest they will keep secret all information contained within the sales book.

The sales book contains a set of documents the team’s lawyers and financial advisers are preparing to show a range of detailed financial information about the Bills, including potential liabilities as well as things like concession and seat sales.

As with many private businesses, the NFL closely guards its financial books.

Despite repeated demands from its players union during collective bargaining, the NFL has refused to share team financial information. The Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team required to disclose its data because the league long ago grandfathered its status as a publicly owned club.

Besides the nondisclosure agreement, prospective Bills bidders also received a brief teaser document that discusses the Bills’ history, information about Ralph Wilson Stadium and the $130 million in renovations taking place there.

The nondisclosure agreement is pro forma for any NFL team sale and might be sent to parties who haven’t even requested it yet. Some individuals or entities being asked to sign the documents likely will not bid on the team.

A Bills source said the nondisclosure agreements and teasers are expected to be sent out in waves over the next couple of weeks and that potential suitors who have been vetted quickly began receiving their documents Wednesday.

Michael Cohen, a senior adviser to billionaire Donald Trump, confirmed that Trump received the nondisclosure agreement letter. Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said Trump will sign the nondisclosure form.

“And Mr. Trump remains interested in the Bills,’’ Cohen said.

It’s not immediately certain who else received the preliminary packet, but sources assumed that former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano, current Sabres owner Terry Pegula and a Toronto group involving Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment executive Larry Tanenbaum and musician Jon Bon Jovi certainly were on the list.

The Associated Press, citing an unnamed source, reported Pegula was sent the initial documents. A spokesman for possible bidder Dean Metropoulos, owner of Pabst Brewing, declined to comment.

email tgraham@buffnews.com

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