NEW YORK -- The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the Edmonton Oilers to Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz, and the purchase of the Tampa Bay Lightning by a group of investors led by Hollywood producer Oren Koules and former player Len Barrie.
Both deals were approved Wednesday at the board of governors meeting in New York in advance of this weekend's NHL Draft in Ottawa.
Katz, the owner of the Rexall Drug Store chain, agreed in February to buy 100 percent of shares owned by the 34-member Edmonton Investors Group for nearly $200 million. He offered to pay about $22,000 for each of the 7,492 shares -- a deal that represented twice the original purchase price.
"I am very pleased to have received the Board of Governors' unanimous approval," Katz said in a statement. "We look forward to closing the transaction on or before June 30th and gearing up for the coming season."
Koules' OK Hockey group also reached a deal in February to buy the Lightning for $206 million and existing debt from by Michigan-based Palace Sports & Entertainment.
That group, led by Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson, bought the Lightning in 1999 and helped transform the club from a perennial loser into a franchise that won the Stanley Cup in 2004.
"Bill Davidson, for a variety of reasons, hasn't been able to be in Tampa for a while," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Having really made that franchise as stable as it's ever been, having brought a Stanley Cup championship to the Tampa Bay region, I think he felt it was time to provide for the future of the franchise."
Barrie spent time with four NHL teams during a seven-year career that also included stints in the minor leagues and in Europe.
"We are thrilled that the National Hockey League and its Governors offered its unanimous affirmation," Koules said in a statement. "Len Barrie, myself and our other partners look forward to jumping in with both feet, ensuring Tampa Bay it will have a team to be proud of on and off the ice for years to come.
"We intend to focus on the 2008-09 season immediately."
The Lightning's sale is expected to close by the end of the month, which is when general manager Jay Feaster will meet with the new owners to begin addressing the team's most immediate need: finding a new coach to replace John Tortorella, who was fired last month. Feaster, who was attending the NHL Draft in Ottawa, said another issue is the status of star forward Vincent Lecavalier, who is entering the final year of his contract.
The Lightning have the No. 1 pick in the draft, which opens Friday night.
The board also endorsed three rules changes that had been recommended by the league's general managers and approved by the competition committee.