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Nashville group preparing to sign letter of intent for NHL's Predators @NHLdotcom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The local group of businessmen bidding to buy the Predators and keep them in Nashville are close enough to finalizing their offer that a letter of intent giving the group exclusive negotiating rights might be signed Wednesday.

The businessmen working with Predators owner Craig Leipold would like to complete the purchase before the NHL season starts in October.

Asked Tuesday if the group was close to finishing up paperwork, Herb Fritch, chief executive officer of HealthSpring Inc., and a member of the local group, said they're near the letter of intent stage.

"This is not a final purchase and sale deal," Fritch said. "There's still a significant step to happen.

"It's the first significant concrete step toward getting there."

He deferred questions to David Freeman, chief executive officer of 36 Venture Capital LLC, or lawyer Chase Cole, who has been working with the group. Freeman wrote in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon that something might happen Wednesday.

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