A group led by Jon Bon Jovi, the Rogers family and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tannenbaum has been informed that it is a finalist in the bidding for the Buffalo Bills.
The Toronto Sun reported Monday that the group is scheduled to meet with Ralph Wilson's estate, the current owners of the team, and their transaction team on Tuesday in New York after being told this past week that their bid had progressed from the initial stage. All bids in the first stage were non-binding.
The news comes only two weeks after word broke that the group's initial bid for the team was deemed insufficient for being uncompetitively low. The Sun reports that the bid could have been under the $800 million range. The estate's trust, Morgan Stanley, and its law firm, Proskauer Rose, also expressed doubt over the Toronto group's commitment to keep the club in Western New York.
Though there's a non-disclosure agreement in place with bidders, it's believed that the Toronto group's resubmitted application gave greater assurances about the club remaining in the Buffalo area.
The Toronto group becomes the third known finalist after successful bids from real estate mogul Donald Trump and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. Former Sabres owner Tom Golisano is expected to be a fourth finalist. Only Trump, Pegula and the Toronto group submitted bids in the non-binding stage. The Buffalo News recently reported that the estate is expected to meet with up to eight finalists in the coming days. The group already met with Trump last Wednesday in Detroit.
After the finalists submit a binding bid, likely by the end of the month, the estate will select a preferred buyer and open negotiations.
The team became available for sale after the death of Wilson last March at age 95.