Last week, Newsday reported that New York Islanders owner Charles Wang had broken off talks with Andrew Barroway to sell the team. No reason was given and the team again cited a March statement where Wang said, “…potential buyers expressions of interest in the team or even my listening to them does not mean that any deal will be reached.”
On Monday, the New York Daily News reported why discussions ceased: Wang wants more money, and now Barroway has taken things to court claiming the Islanders owner backed out of an agreement.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Barroway’s corporation, NY ICE claims the parties “shook their hands on an agreement” and NY Ice started to line up NHL approval and financing.
However, Wang “without notice, abruptly refused to proceed to close the transaction and honor the terms of their 70-page purchase agreement but instead “improperly sought to renegotiate the already agreed upon price” in March.
The $420 million deal, which would have seen Barroway take 100-percent of the Islanders, was reportedly agreed to in March, but then Steve Ballmer made his $2 billion offer for the Los Angeles Clippers and Wang felt like he could get more for the franchise; like something in the ballpark of $548 million.
NY ICE believes they’re entitled to a $10 million fee the two sides agreed to if talks broke off, court papers say. They also mention that Wang told Barroway on August 1 "he had sold the team to other bidders." It's been ten days and not a peep or rumor that the franchise is about to exchange hands. Is that breaking news or a now-failed negotiating tactic?
An Islanders spokesman, via Katie Strang of ESPN New York, said, "There is no merit to the reports."
This isn't the first time Barroway and Wang have gone down the lawsuit road. Barroway was the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit against Computer Associates, a Wang company, in 1998. The suit was eventually settled in 2003.
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