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Fenway Sports Group nearing deal to purchase NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins

Fenway Sports Group nearing deal to purchase NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins
Billionaire John Henry, shown June 29, 2019, is the principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, which has a portfolio that includes English Premier League soccer club Liverpool, MLB's Boston Red Sox and NASCAR's Roush Fenway Racing. File Photo by Mark Thomas/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Fenway Sports Group, the holding company that owns MLB's Boston Red Sox, is nearing a deal to purchase a controlling stake in the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sources told ESPN, Sportico and the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that Fenway Sports Group is in advanced discussions to buy the hockey team and a deal could be finalized later this week. According to the outlets, the FSG board will vote to approve the agreement Thursday.

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The agreement needs to be approved by the Fenway Sports Group board before the deal moves to the NHL for approval. The league's board of governors must sign off on any potential sale.

Billionaire John Henry is the principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, which has a portfolio that includes English Premier League soccer club Liverpool, the Red Sox and NASCAR's Roush Fenway Racing. FSG also owns real estate, including the Red Sox's Fenway Park.

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Ron Burkle and former NHL star Mario Lemieux have been the Penguins' majority owners since 1999. The NHL franchise was on the verge of bankruptcy that year when Lemieux and Burkle headed a group that purchased the club for a reported $107 million.

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Lemieux and Burkle played an instrumental role in securing a new arena in Pittsburgh, which fended off possible relocation for the team. Since then, the Penguins have rediscovered success on the ice, capturing three Stanley Cups and four conference championships.

ESPN reported that Lemieux is expected to retain a minority stake in the Penguins if a sale goes through.

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The Penguins ($845 million) are the NHL's 15th most valuable team, according to recent valuations by Sportico. The average NHL club is valued at $934 million, and the combined market value of all 32 teams is $30 billion.

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