The Arizona Coyotes may soon find themselves under new ownership, with league sources confirming that Cuban-American billionaire Alex Meruelo, who founded the Meruelo Group, is in the final stages of purchasing the team.
Any sale would require majority approval from the National Hockey League’s board of governors, which meets June 19.
Andrew Barroway, who became majority owner when he purchased 51% of the team January 2, 2015, bought complete control two years later.
It has been reported that Meruelo would become the majority owner, but it is unknown what percentage of the team he will purchase.
Meruelo co-founded Commercial Bank of California. He serves on the company’s board of directors and is the majority shareholder. He received 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 founded 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 currently 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.
As of print time, it is unclear if Meruelo plans to relocate the Coyotes from Gila River Arena, where the team currently plays.
The team has reportedly been looking for a new location to build an arena.