The National Hockey League Board of Governors has approved Alex Meruelo as the new majority owner of the Arizona Coyotes.
A spokesman for the Arizona Coyotes said the sale hasn’t closed yet and a comment has not been issued.
The city of Glendale called the Cuban-American billionaire’s move “exciting news.”
“As the first Latino owner of a major league sports franchise, Mr. Meruelo represents the wonderful diversity found in Glendale,” the statement read.
“An owner like Mr. Meruelo, with his business acumen, coming in at a time when the Coyotes just finished one of their most financially successful seasons, has us very excited for what the future holds for the franchise. We will continue to build on the relationship with the Coyotes and look forward to welcoming Mr. Meruelo to Glendale.”
Andrew Barroway, who became majority owner when he purchased 51% of the team January 2, 2015, bought complete control two years later.
It is unknown what percentage of the team Meruelo will purchase.
Meruelo co-founded Commercial Bank of California. He serves on the company’s board of directors and is the majority shareholder. He earned his Bachelor of Science from California State University Long Beach in 1985.
Meruelo began his career working in his father’s tuxedo business before founding La Pizza Loca, a pizza chain that offered toppings such as chorizo and jalapenos. After five years of operation it reached $10 million in sales.
After his success in pizza, Meruelo started the Meruelo Group, which has grown into a construction and real estate development firm. The group also owns numerous electrical businesses in California, banks, a Spanish-language independent television station, and numerous radio stations including some in Southern California.
He also owns SLS Las Vegas, formerly the Sahara Hotel and Casino, which the Meruelo Group is planning to transform into Las Vegas’ first Hispanic destination hotel.
Meruelo attempted to purchase the Atlanta Hawks in 2011, but his offer was turned down.