It's a done deal. Fenway Sports Group officially announced on Monday morning that it has reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.
The deal is now subject to the approval of the NHL's Board of Governors, but it is expected to close by the end of the year.
Current Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will remain part of the ownership group and will be "closely aligned with FSG." FSG also announced it plans to keep the Penguins' management team in place, including president of hockey operations Brian Burke, general manager Ron Hextall, and coach Mike Sullivan.
"The Pittsburgh Penguins are a premier National Hockey League franchise with a very strong organization, a terrific history and a vibrant, passionate fan base," said FSG chairman Tom Werner. "We will work diligently to continue building on the remarkable Penguins’ tradition of championships and exciting play.
"We are particularly excited to welcome Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle to FSG and have the utmost respect for all they have done to build the Penguins into the perennially successful franchise we know today. We look forward to working with Mario, Ron and the entire Penguins front office team."
The Penguins become the latest significant addition to FSG's portfolio, which also includes MLB's Boston Red Sox, Premier League club Liverpool, 80% of the New England Sports Network (NESN), and 50% of NASCAR's RFK Racing (formerly Roush Fenway Racing).
FSG has not been shy about its desire to continue expanding after the Penguins acquisition, with the group reportedly eyeing franchises in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLS and NWSL in North America, as well as another European soccer club.
They take over the Penguins at a time when the franchise will be approaching an important crossroads, as the transition away from 34-year-old Sidney Crosby and 35-year-old Evgeni Malkin will be coming at some point in the next several years. Pittsburgh won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, but has not gotten past the second round since then.
“As the Penguins enter a new chapter, I will continue to be as active and engaged with the team as I always have been and look forward to continuing to build on our success with our incoming partners at FSG,” Lemieux said. “They have an organizational philosophy that mirrors the approach that worked so well for Ron and me over the past 22 years.”