The Pittsburgh Penguins ownership group, led by Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux, is considering selling some or all of its stake in the NHL franchise. The group recently hired Morgan Stanley, a company that helped in the sale of the Buffalo Sabres.
"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," the Penguins' owners said in a 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."
According to multiple sources, both Burkle and Lemieux are open to selling but want to retain involvement in some capacity after the sale. In 1999, Lemieux bought the team after the previous ownership declared bankruptcy.
Lemieux, who played for the Penguins from 1984 to 1997 and 2000 to 2006, became the first player in professional sports to give a portion of his salary to buy a franchise.
"Our goal all along was to solidify the franchise both on and off the ice," Lemieux added 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."