Preliminary bids in the sale of the Buffalo Bills have been submitted and those bids start at over $1 billion. There were reportedly at least 15 interested in purchasing the team, but only three are known to have placed an official bid before Tuesday’s deadline.
The three interested parties include businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump, Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, and the Toronto-based group led by rock star Jon Bon Jovi. Buffalo Business First Reporter Jim Fink says Pegula reportedly made an offer of $1.3 billion for the Bills.
Fink says the three submissions were the only three bids the trust representing late owner Ralph Wilson Jr. received by Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline.
The record sale price for an NFL franchise was set in 2008 when the Miami Dolphins sold for $1.1 billion. Fink says he believes the Bills sale will surpass the record.
“Whoever buys the Buffalo Bills is going to be setting a new record, a new benchmark for NFL franchises. Which is kind of interesting, you would think that would have been the case for Washington or Dallas or the Patriots, but it’s Buffalo that is setting the new benchmark,” said Fink.
Fink says Tom Golisano did not place a bid on the team before the deadline, but he says that doesn’t mean Golisano is out. He says he has been been told Golisano is “taking a step back” and will place a bid if there’s a potential that the team will not stay in Buffalo.
Fink adds any interested party still has a shot at purchasing the team.
“The final decision will ultimately rest with the estate and obviously they make their recommendation to the NFL. The NFL owners have to sign off on that, so there are a lot of variables in that equation. The Bills are privately held, they’re a private business. The Wilson estate can ultimately sell them to whoever they want, whether it’s the highest bid, the lowest bid or the middle bid,” said Fink.
Fink says if a bidder from this round is chosen, a new owner for the Buffalo Bills will not be determined until late fall or early winter. He says it could even be drawn out into spring.