By: John P. Wise
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh's beloved NHL franchise is in talks to be acquired by the same group that owns baseball's Boston Red Sox.
KDKA investigator Andy Sheehan confirmed through sources Tuesday that Fenway Sports Group approached the Penguins about buying the team.
FSG also owns Liverpool FC in the English Premier League, as well as a portion of Roush Racing in NASCAR circles.
Penguins legend Mario Lemieux bought the team while he was still a player more than 20 years ago. The Penguins have won three Stanley Cups under his ownership, including back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017.
"I was surprised by the news itself," Penguins fan Dominic Racobaoda told KDKA's Jennifer Borrasso. "If anybody would have the Penguins' best interest, it would be Mario Lemieux. He saved the team, bought (Sidney Crosby) here."
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The FSG championship pedigree also includes four World Series titles since it bought the Boston Red Sox 20 years ago, as well as a Champions League crown in 2019 with Liverpool, which then won the Premier League the following year.
A source close to the Penguins confirmed that "active" negotiations are taking place between the Lemieux Group and Fenway. The source told Sheehan that if the talks are successful, Lemieux would stay in a management role but with a reduced ownership stake. CEO David Morehouse, COO Kevin Acklin, GM Ron Hextall and Coach Mike Sullivan also are expected to stay.
"My concern is how much is Mario going to continue to be involved?" Penguins fan Scott Higgins told KDKA's Jennifer Borrasso. "And how much is the city of Pittsburgh?"
The source said Fenway wants to stay the course, impressed with the team's fan base and reputation of success on and off the ice.
Last December, Forbes magazine updated its list of most valuable NHL franchises, ranking the Penguins 11th out of the league's 32 teams, valued at $650 million.
FSG declined to comment when contacted by KDKA on Tuesday afternoon.
The Penguins, 5-5-4, sit in seventh place in the eight-team Metropolitan Division in the NHL's Eastern Conference. They welcome Buffalo to PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.
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