- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 27, 2001

Washington Capitals chairman Ted Leonsis, who last month lost Michael Jordan as a business partner, yesterday added three members to his Lincoln Holdings LLC ownership group.

Joining Leonsis as equity holders in the Caps and Washington Wizards are Jack Davies, senior advisor to the chairman at America Online; Richard Kay, founder and chairman of Bethesda-based OTG Software Inc; and George Stamas, vice chairman of the board for investment banking firm Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown Inc.

The moves, still subject to NHL and NBA approval, continue a flurry of changes with Lincoln. Since January 2000, Leonsis has added Jordan to the group and lost him when the NBA legend returned to the hardwood; added Raul Fernandez, North American president for global technology firm Dimension Data Holdings Plc; lost District entrepreneur and original partner Jonathan Ledecky; and now added the newest members. Specific terms of the latest transaction were not disclosed.

Lincoln owns 100 percent of the Caps and 44 percent of Washington Sports and Entertainment L.P. (WSELP), the Abe Pollin-led group that controls the Wizards, MCI Center and related assets.

Leonsis, whose share of Lincoln stood at nearly 80 percent following Jordan's departure and who still holds "substantially more than 50 percent" as the controlling partner, said he was not in need of the additional capital. But with major efforts to improve the Caps on and off the ice still ongoing and the opportunity to buy Pollin's 56 percent of WSELP still looming in the long-term future, Leonsis said having additional investors and friends on board would still be to his benefit.

Leonsis has worked with Davies, also founder of AOL International, since his arrival at AOL in 1994. Kay, whose firm is active in data access and secure storage, and Leonsis have crossed paths for years within local technology and philanthropic circles. And Stamas was already a fixture within Lincoln as the group's primary legal counsel and a member of the board of directors. Stamas, also a shareholder in the Baltimore Orioles, helped cut the deals for Leonsis to buy the Capitals from Pollin and for Jordan to buy into the group early last year.

"When I bought [Ledecky] out this summer, my [equity] position went very high. I then thought it best to bring in more people," Leonsis said. "With the kind of investments we're making and the work we're doing, we could use some additional people. We've done that, and these men are all men of substance with significant track records of success, deep ties in the community, and best of all, they're all my friends. It's an ideal situation."

The full Lincoln lineup now stands at Leonsis, Fernandez, Stamas, Davies, Kay and team president Dick Patrick.

While the Caps are among the NHL's fastest growing teams in revenue and attendance, the team still loses nearly $20 million annually and plays in a market without a long established hockey tradition. Neither situation proved a deterrent to the three new members.

"This was certainly an opportunity to jump at," Davies said. "This is a great growth story unfolding, not unlike the early days of AOL, I think. And the lessons we've learned with AOL I think can and will apply here."

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