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Private equity firm buys minority stake in Tampa Bay Lightning

Jeff Vinik is sticking around as majority owner.
Credit: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates with the bench after his goal against the New York Rangers during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. — A private equity firm has acquired a minority stake of Vinik Sports Group, the umbrella company that owns the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bolts owner Jeff Vinik announced Tuesday that Arctos Sports Partners' minority investment had been approved by the NHL, though the specific details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"Vinik will retain control as majority owner and there will be no change in the day-to-day operations of the Lightning and VSG," Brian Breseman, the Lightning's senior director of communications, wrote in a statement. "General Manager Julien BriseBois, along with VSG & Lightning CEO Steve Griggs, will both remain as Alternate Governors with the NHL."

Vinik described Arctos' investment as a "validation" of the work that's been done to turn the Bolts into "a world-class-plus organization." Since Vinik bought the then-struggling professional hockey franchise in 2010, the team has become a dominant force on the ice and donated more than $30 million to Tampa Bay area nonprofits and causes. 

“We will continue our mission to be a community-first organization and ensure that the Lightning have all of the resources necessary to succeed on and off the ice," Vinik wrote. "I am thrilled to welcome both Ian Charles and Doc O’Connor – the Managing Partners of Arctos – as investors into the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions.”

In a press release, Ian Charles described Vinik and his leadership team as "exceptional."

“We are excited to be partnering with Jeff and the Lightning as they continue executing on their vision of providing a world-class fan experience, pursuing growth opportunities that expand the business, and serving as stewards of the community asset that is the Lightning," Charles said.

Charles' organization, which is run by six partners, is involved with more than a dozen sports franchises between North America and Europe.