The Buffalo Bills sales process has advanced one big step.
The Bills’ financial adviser, Morgan Stanley, has begun granting potential buyers access to the team’s detailed financial information, multiple sources told The Buffalo News.
Now the bidding may begin.
Prospective bidders started receiving online access Wednesday to the Bills’ offering memorandum, a bundle of data that gives an in-depth look into the team’s finances.
Part of the memorandum is an “indication of interest” document that must be returned to Morgan Stanley by July 29 to continue pursuit of a purchase.
Terry Pegula and the man from whom he bought the Buffalo Sabres, B. Thomas Golisano, are believed to be among the possible buyers granted permission to review the Bills’ numbers.
So, too, was a Toronto-based group that includes Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment boss Larry Tanenbaum and rock star Jon Bon Jovi.
A spokesman for Donald Trump told The Buffalo News that the billionaire developer is on the list.
“I can confirm that Mr. Trump received yesterday information contained in the virtual data room provided by Morgan Stanley for application to purchase the Buffalo Bills,” said Michael Cohen, executive vice president and legal counsel for the Trump Organization.
A “virtual data room” requires a specialized password for prospective buyers who have signed a non-disclosure agreement.
From there, they can examine the Bills’ confidential finances – including revenues, assets and liabilities – and formulate a valuation for the team.
Financial books contain closely guarded information. The Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team required to disclose data because the league long ago grandfathered the Packers’ status as a publicly owned club.
Forbes magazine calculates NFL team valuations every summer and estimated last August that the Bills were worth $870 million.
Industry analysts project the Bills will sell for closer to $1 billion – if not more, depending on the number of bidders.
Bills founder Ralph C. Wilson Jr., who died in March, put the team’s future in the hands of a trust.
The trust wants to sell the team quickly, and a deal could be done before the end of the upcoming season.