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5/25/2007
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Research In Motion Chief Said To Be Buying Nashville Hockey Franchise

Published reports say that RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie has bought the Nashville Predators for more than $200 million.

It's the dream of sports fans everywhere -- to own their own major league team -- and Research In Motion's co-chief executive Jim Balsillie, an avid hockey fan, appears to have bought the National Hockey League's Nashville Predators.

While there have been no formal announcements as of Friday, several reports from Canada, where RIM is located, and from Nashville have stated Balsillie is acquiring the team for more than $200 million in U.S. dollars. One possible reason for the lack of confirmation is that Balsillie's earlier attempt to buy the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins last December never came to fruition.

Many NHL hockey franchises are losing money, including the Predators, whose current owner, Craig Leipold, has said the team hasn't been profitable for years.

Even though there is no confirmation of a deal, there is plenty of speculation that the co-founder of the hugely successful RIM and its ubiquitous BlackBerry handsets would move the franchise to Canada, where hockey is a national pastime.

Many of the parties involved in and surrounding negotiations for the Predators have high-tech backgrounds in addition to Balsillie. Leipold is the founder of telemarketing firm Ameritel; another interested bidder for an NHL franchise is Philip Anschutz, formerly a principal in Qwest Communications.

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