The Toronto Star has a story on the man behind a potential bid for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE).
Jonathan M. Nelson is the 52-year-old billionaire CEO of Providence Equity Partners. Apparently he’s one of those reclusive billionaire types that doesn’t like to speak to the media
or leave his sterilized underground bunker.
A couple of interesting things from the article:
—-Providence is an investor in Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network, the regional cable channel that airs New York Yankees and New Jersey Nets games. A similar regional network could be developed to broadcast Leafs and Raptors games, and Providence would have the expertise to make that happen.
—-Nelson has a previous working relationship with Jim Leech, CEO of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the group selling its 79.5-percent stake in MLSE. Providence and Teachers teamed up (along with others) in 2007 to buy Bell Canada Enterprises for $51 billion, though the subprime mortgage crisis eventually derailed the deal.
At first I was a little skeptical of the idea of a U.S. investment fund buying the Leafs, but this makes sense.
I wonder if Nelson would be willing to pay Mike Komisarek $4.5 million a season to play for the Marlies.