The Pittsburgh Penguins confirmed today that they have engaged Morgan Stanley to oversee a review of their strategic options.
Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle lead the partnership that has owned the Penguins for the past 16 years – a tenure highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 and opening a state-of-the-art arena, CONSOL Energy Center, in 2010.
“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.”
Lemieux, who will turn 50 in October, was drafted by the Penguins in 1984 and spent his entire playing career in Pittsburgh. He retired as a player in 1997, led the group that bought the team in 1999 and returned to the ice as player-owner from 2000-2006. He won two Stanley Cups as a player and one as an owner.
“Our goal all along was to solidify the franchise both on and off the ice,” Lemieux said. “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.”
The Penguins have made the playoffs for nine straight seasons, the second-longest active streak in the NHL. They have sold out 377 straight games, dating back to February 2007, and have led the NHL’s U.S.-based teams in local television ratings for six straight years.
Lemieux, Burkle and the Penguins will have no further comment until the process is completed.