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Wednesday, February 12, 2003

PFE Reach Deal to Save Timbers


[Oregonian Story]
[Tribune Story]

PFE have reached a "tentative" deal with lender TIAA-CREF and the City aimed at keeping soccer and baseball in Portland. PFE's investors and the NY based pension fund will both lose money and the stadium's owners will make lower payments to the City. The vote on the deal is scheduled for a Portland City Council work session on Thursday.

The deal promises to keep the teams in Portland, make up within a year nearly $1 million in past-due payments to the city, and avoid city ownership of the Beavers and the Timbers.

Under the agreement, Portland Family Entertainment would dissolve, costing $10 million to the 14 investors who were partners in the venture. A new group, Metropolitan Sports LLC, would take its place, with the 14-man investor roster pared to Crown Pacific president and CEO Peter Stott, auto dealer Scott Thomason and perhaps a few more.

The new group would buy out PFE's crippling $23 million to $25 million debt, which soared far above original projections. The price tag for the buyout is roughly $11 million, multiple sources said, a substantial loss for the group's lender, TIAA-CREF, a New York pension fund.

The city's share of the loss would require it to, among other things, freeze the stadium rent and tie it more to attendance, cut a ticket tax by 40 percent and eliminate the city's profit sharing. If the new group meets its obligations, attendance remains the same as last year and city expenses don't drop, the city estimates a loss of $150,000 to $300,000 this year.

The council also will consider whether to cut the city's costs to reduce potential losses, including free transit tickets to games and a living-wage stipend for stadium workers.

posted by the timberlog at 2:31 PM



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