Terry and Kim Pegula, the owners of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres ice hockey team, have struck a deal to acquire the Buffalo Bills NFL American football franchise.
The new owners reached the deal with the estate of Bills owner Ralph Wilson, who died earlier this year. Multiple reports have said that the value of the deal is $1.4bn (€1.06bn). Terry Pegula, a 63-year-old real estate tycoon and natural gas development executive, has been a popular owner of the Sabres after vowing to keep the team in Buffalo.
“Our interest in owning the Bills has everything to do with the people of Western New York and our passion for football,” Pegula said. “We have knowledgeable, dedicated fans here, and along with our ownership of the Buffalo Sabres, it is gratifying to reassure these great fans that two franchises so important to our region are both here to stay.”
The Bills’ controlling owner, Mary Wilson, added: “This is a very important day in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise. Ralph brought professional football to Buffalo in 1959 and it was his life's passion. He loved his team and he cherished the fans and his legacy will remain for all time. Ralph would have been pleased with the sale of the team to the Terry Pegula family, who has been so committed to Buffalo and the Western New York region.”
The franchise was put up for sale when Wilson died in March at the age of 95. Other bidders for the Bills included a Toronto-based group including singer-songwriter Jon Bon Jovi. “On behalf of myself, Larry Tanenbaum and Edward Rogers, we wish Terry and Kim Pegula all the best as they continue the legacy and tradition of the Buffalo Bills and the Wilson family,” Bon Jovi said. The deal is expected to be approved by the league during the NFL owners’ fall meeting on October 8 in New York.