As noted earlier this link, XFL boss Vince McMahon responded to recent claims that he was looking to buy back the league in new bankruptcy court filings. The commiittee of unsecured creditors to the XFL recently objected to the bankruptcy filing, claiming Vince was trying to rig the bankruptcy process as a way to buy back the league without fully paying back debtors. Vince dismissed the speculation and said he would not be a bidder for the league. The response filing from earlier this week labeled the recent claims by the creditors as "inflammatory rhetoric and unsubstantiated accusations."
Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic has revealed Vince's full comments from the recent deposition testimony.
"I don't know why that's out there, making me out to be the bad guy, (that) I'm going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar, basically," McMahon said. "That helped me move into the direction of I'm not going to be a bidder, not going to have anything to do with it. I do hope that someone will pay a lot of money for it, and I do hope that it will survive."
While it looks like Vince won't be a bidder, there are dozens of potential purchasers currently in "active discussions" with the XFL's investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, according to the filing. The Athletic adds that most potential purchasers have indicated that the potential for an XFL season in the spring of 2021 is important to them.
"Based on preliminary feedback, there is a robust market for the Debtor's assets, including a number of potentially interested private equity firms and other strategic and financial sponsors," Vince's recent filing said.
Houlihan managing partner William Hardie noted in a separate filing that the prospective buyers are looking to generate revenue and further establish the league in a "content-starved environment" in the spring of 2021, to avoid leaving space out to 2022 that would allow others to potentially act on the opportunity. Houlihan had distributed teasers to 235 potential purchasers as of May 25, and as of that date, 20 potential purchasers had executed non-disclosure agreements and gained access to a date room that contains extensive diligence materials on the league. As of that date, 6 more potential purchasers were in the process of executing non-disclosure agreements to gain access to the data room.
Furthermore, the XFL has crafted a scenario for a potential tournament that would begin in February 2021.
"In fact, I understand the Debtor has modeled for 2021 a made-for-TV, 12-week tournament-style approach to its business – since the XFL is particularly well suited for a crowd-free experience that could thrive in the current environment, given its existing innovations such as in-game audio from players and coaches and live on-screen sports wagering information," wrote Hardie in his filing.
The committee of creditors wants the sales process to run through mid-September, instead of the early July time frame that was proposed by McMahon. In a concession, Vince agreed to extend the sales process through the first week of August. He warned that any more time would jeopardize a relaunch in 2021.
A Delaware bankruptcy court hearing was scheduled for Wednesday of this week, for the dispute between the league, and its parent company Alpha Entertainment, and the creditors. Stay tuned for updates from that hearing. You can read The Athletic's coverage at this link.