Pittsburgh Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle have hired Morgan Stanley to help the team explore the viability of a sale.
“We conduct periodic reviews of our business and, because we have received several inquiries about the franchise in recent years, we decided to engage Morgan Stanley for their insight and counsel,” Lemieux and Burkle said in a joint statement. “After buying the team out of bankruptcy, ensuring its long-term future in Pittsburgh and creating a strong foundation for continued success, we believe it is time to explore our options.”
TSN’s report noted that “it’s believed Lemieux, perhaps more than Burkle, may have an interest in getting his equity share out of the franchise.”
Morgan Stanley is the same firm that helped transact Buffalo owner Terry Pegula’s purchase of the Sabres.
Lemieux played for Pittsburgh in all 17 seasons of his NHL career. The Hockey Hall of Fame member scored 690 goals, the 10th-most of any player in NHL history.
Lemieux is also eighth all-time in points scored (1,723) and 11th in assists (1,080).
“Our goal all along was to solidify the franchise both on and off the ice,” Lemieux said in the statement. “Our star players are signed to long-term contracts, they’ve got a deep and passionate base to support them, and I believe the Penguins are well-positioned for the future. Regardless of what happens, I plan on staying involved with the team in some capacity, and Ron and I plan to retain an ownership stake.”
Pittsburgh finished the 2014–2015 season 43–27–12 and lost in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to the New York Rangers.
GALLERY: Classic SI Photos of Mario Lemiuex