Source: CFL reaches agreement to sell Montreal Alouettes franchise
MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes ownership issue has been resolved.
According to a source, the CFL has reached an agreement to sell the franchise and will make the formal announcement Friday at a news conference in Montreal.
The source requested anonymity as neither the league nor Alouettes have released details of the agreement.
But the move will come roughly a week after the CFL entered into an exclusive negotiation with Quebecor Inc. regarding ownership of the franchise.
Quebecor Inc.'s president/chief executive officer is Pierre Karl Peladeau, a Montreal businessman who has a reported net worth of US$1.9 billion.
The 61-year-old Peladeau is also a former leader of the Parti Québécois.
It's unclear whether Quebecor or Peladeau will be the principal owner of the franchise.
Quebecor Ltd. also has a sports and entertainment division that includes the Quebec Remparts and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, both of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as well as the Videotron Centre, an indoor arena in Quebec City.
Quebecor Ltd. unsuccessfully attempted to get an NHL expansion franchise for Quebec City in 2015.
The CFL took over operation of the Alouettes last month, appointing former president Mario Cecchini as interim president.
Earlier this week, the QMJHL announced it had hired Cecchini as its commissioner to replace Gilles Courteau, who recently stepped down from the post after 37 years.
But the league said Cecchini wouldn't take over immediately because he was involved in the sale of the Alouettes. The QMJHL added interim commissioner Martin Lavallee will continue in that role until Cecchini could take over.
The CFL's assuming control of the Alouettes marked the second time in roughly four years that it had been forced to do so. The league took over the franchise May 31, 2019 from Robert and Andrew Wetenhall.
The CFL sold the Alouettes to Ontario businessmen Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern, Spiegel's son-in-law, in January 2020. But Spiegel died in July 2021 having never seen the club play as the CFL didn't operate in 2020 due to the global pandemic.
Spiegel's estate had maintained a 75 per cent ownership stake in the franchise, with Stern assuming the other 25 per cent. Last August, Stern announced he was stepping away from day-to-day operations with the team and leaving his position on the CFL board of governors.
However, Stern didn't give up his ownership stake in the franchise.
Cecchini was hired as Alouettes president in 2020, signing a three-year contract. But last December, Cecchini was informed by Spiegel's estate that his deal wouldn't be renewed.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023.
The Canadian Press