RDS Obtains Financial Documents on the Montreal Canadiens' Cash Flow

Kevin van SteendelaarAnalyst IApril 27, 2009

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: Liverpool Co-owner George Gillett looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield on December 1, 2008 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

It is well known and verified that the Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett has been having his corporate assets and finances put under the microscope.

On March 23rd of this year, Canadiens president Pierre Boivin stated, "The Gillett family has retained the services of financial advisers to assess various strategic alternatives to optimize the value of its corporate assets."

"In Canada, the family has retained the services of BMO Capital Markets and the process is underway."

The principal concern of Gillett is the reported defaulting payments on a $600 million loan that he and Dallas Stars owner, Tom Hicks, took to purchase the English Premier League's Liverpool FC. in 2007.

It brought speculation that several buyers would be interested in purchasing the Canadiens to help unload Gillett's financial burdens.

While Gillett has denied any reports of a sale of the team, it was reported earlier this month that as many as ten different parties would be interested in hockey's most storied franchise.

Many of those parties have confirmed that they had tendered offers.

Even the goverment of the province of Quebec confirmed today that it is willing to commit $100 million to a Quebec based group of investors.

Gillett's current stake in the club and the Bell Centre is 81 percent, while Molson Breweries owns the balance.

The Canadian French language sports network, RDS, is now reporting that they have attained documents surrounding the financial highlights of the Canadiens and Gillett's other companies in Canada.

The documents state the the Canadiens had revenues of $288 by the fiscal year end of June 2008, with a profit of $45 million.

Revenues for each of Montreal's home games in that period are estimated at $2 million per game.

The documents also reveal that the Gillett Entertainment Group, which promotes a variety of entertainment, shows increasing revenues of 22 percent, since 2002, and they are expected to reach $100 million in 2009.

The President of BMO Financial, Jacques Ménard, would not comment on the reported findings.

Quebec finance minister, Raymond Bachand, did confirm that he is regular contact with BMO and that they are reviewing the data.

Mr. Gillett purchased the Canadiens and the Bell Centre in 2001 for $181 million with help from loans in the vicinity of $140 million. 

In October 2008, Forbes Magazine valued the club third in the NHL at $334 million.

With the Canadiens completing their 100th season and still in their centennial celebrations, the surplus merchandising can only fuel revenues.

The figures, if correct, are revealing and demonstrate clearly that the Canadiens are a very profitable team.