Cuban-American billionaire businessman Alex Meruelo is close to acquiring a majority stake in the Arizona Coyotes, The Athletic's Craig Morgan reported Monday.
Meruelo, founder of the Meruelo Group, would replace Andrew Barroway as the Coyotes' majority owner. Barroway, who became the Coyotes' sole owner when he bought out the team's minority owners in 2017, would retain a minority stake in the franchise, Morgan reported.
“What I can confirm right now is that Alex Meruelo is very interested in purchasing the Coyotes," Coyotes president and CEO Ahron Cohen told The Athletic. "Alex’s track record of strong business success certainly precedes him – and it makes him a great candidate to help our team build upon the positive momentum we have established over the past year. We will keep all the members of Our Pack updated on important milestones moving forward.”
Meruelo's parents were born in Cuba and arrived in America after fleeing the Fidel Castro regime. Meruelo's business ventures include real estate, construction, banks, and TV and radio stations throughout the southwestern United States.
Barroway became the Coyotes' majority owner in 2014 when he purchased 51 percent of the franchise for $152.5 million. By 2016, Barroway's stake had increased to 54 percent, according to Forbes magazine.
The Coyotes acknowledged in January that they're exploring "additional investment opportunities" in the franchise. "This process has at its core one key pre-condition: any investment in our team must be laser-focused on helping the Coyotes achieve a long-term sustainable arena solution here in Arizona," Coyotes president CEO Ahron Cohen said in an open letter to fans in January.
The Coyotes have also previously explored options for a new arena in the Valley. They currently play at Gila River Arena in Glendale, which they have called home since the 2003-04 season.