Report: Boston Red Sox ownership group in talks to buy Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Could the Pittsburgh Penguins soon have a new owner?

According to the Wall Street Journal, Fenway Sports Group LLC, the company that owns the Boston Red Sox, is in advanced talks to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The WSJ report said a deal “could be finalized later this week, assuming the talks don’t fall apart.”

Our partners at DKPittsburghSports.com report Fenway Sports Group LLC is a holding group that owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. of the English Premier League, as well as the stadiums for both teams. The group also owns the Red Sox’s Low-A affiliate and part of the Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate, and 80 percent of the sports television network NESN. John W. Henry is the principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, owning 40 percent. Other partners in Fenway Sports Group include billionaire brothers Ted and Bill Alfond, LeBron James, and James’ business manager Maverick Carter. They also own Roush Fenway Racing.

The current ownership group of the Penguins includes Mario Lemieux, Ron Burkle, John Surma and Debra Cafaro. They bought the franchise and helped it recover from bankruptcy in 1999, turning it into one of the most successful sport franchises in the National Hockey League.

Channel 11 has reached out to the Penguins for comment. Officials with the franchise have not yet responded.

Channel 11 also reached out to Pittsburgh city officials. The Mayor’s office said they would not be commenting on the report.

A spokesperson for Mayor-elect Ed Gainey sent Channel 11 a statement:

“The Mayor-elect was alerted to the possibility of the sale earlier today and plans to meet with representatives of the current ownership in the near future to better understand the proposal and it’s impact on the City.”

>>>RELATED: Penguins owners hire Morgan Stanley to explore options

In 2015, the Penguins hired Morgan Stanley to gauge their financial prospects, including everything from an outright sale to simply giving up a share of the team or doing nothing.

“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 Ron Burkle said at the time.

Forbes valued the Penguins franchise nearly a year ago at $650 million while other publications estimate the value at $665 million.

The financial details of the potential deal have not yet been released.