George N. Gillett Jr.

George N. Gillett Jr.

George N. Gillett Jr. (born October 22, 1938, in Racine, Wisconsin) is an American businessman, owner of the ice hockey team Montreal Canadiens, and co-owner of English Premier League team Liverpool F.C. and the NASCAR auto racing team Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

Building his fortune through sports franchises and meat production with an estimated fortune of around US$1.1 billion as of November 2007, [] Gillett and his wife Rose live in Vail, Colorado, and have four sons: George III, Alexander, and twins Foster and Andrew (the latter twin is the only son not involved in the family business). [ [ ColoradoBiz Magazine ] ]


George Gillett attended Amherst College and is a graduate of Dominican College in Racine, Wisconsin.

In 1979 he launched Gillett Communications by buying three small television stations. Three years later he bought the WSM television station in Nashville. In 1984 Gillett acquired Post Corporation's eight television stations, 22 newspapers and associated plant; the non-broadcast assets were sold to Thomson Corporation and other buyers. In 1987 he acquired Storer Broadcasting using Kohlberg Kravis Roberts junk bonds, after the FCC lifted restrictions on ownership.

In 1985 Gillett acquired Vail Associates' Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, creating a new era with focus on customer service, Gillett redefined the ski experience and what it meant to be a world class resort. George would often ride chairlifts and greet guests, and launched a massive installation of high-speed detachable chairlifts thereby kick-starting the growth that would put Vail on the map as America's number one ski destination. Gillett also supported major alpine ski events at a time when most ski areas in America declined to host international races, starting with the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships, and through his support hosted the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships [ [ Colorado Ski Museum - News ] ] .

Gillett's companies sought Chapter 11 protection in 1992 as higher interest rates penalised junk bond issuers. Gillett's media arm was reorganised as New World Communications under the control of Ronald Perelman.

After junk bonds

Gillett walked away with $32.1 million to restart his business empire when Vail floated on the NYSE. [ [ High Country News - December 7, 1998: Vail and the road to a recreational empire ] ] In 1995 he repurchased Packerland undertaken by Booth Creek Management Corp., a company created to oversee the acquisitions and management of interests of the Gillett family from that point forwards, and of which Gillett remains Chairman.

In 1996 he formed Booth Creek Ski Holdings Inc., acquiring or building a range of ski resorts in New Hampshire, California, Washington and Wyoming. He later bought Grand Targhee Ski and Summer Resort, together with several golf courses.

From 1997 he extended his meat interests by building Corporate Brand Foods America (which included ITC, Iowa Ham, Jordan Meats and Wright Bacon), latterly bought by Iowa Beef Processors for US$550 million. Gillett and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst then bought ConAgra's beef operations - Swift and Company - for US$1.4 billion in 2001. [] In the meat business, Gillett now also controls:
*Petaluma Poultry - natural and organic chicken products
*Snowball Foods - food processor of turkey and chicken products
*Kings Delight - food processor of turkey and chicken products
*B3R Country Meats - processes fresh and frozen natural beef
*Coleman Natural Products - processes fresh and frozen natural beef and lamb
*Gerhard’s Napa Valley Sausage - a producer of gourmet sausage products made primarily from poultry

North American sports interests

After a failed bid in 2000 with Pat Bowlen and John Elway to buy the NBA Denver Nuggets, NHL Colorado Avalanche and Pepsi Center; on 2 January 2000 Gillett bought an 80% interest in the NHL Montreal Canadiens and their home arena, the Bell Centre, for US$185 million. [ [ An American Buys the Canadiens - Montreal Canadiens may be purchased by businessman George Gillett, Jr - Brief Article | Hockey Digest | Find Articles at ] ] Gillett also owns the [ Gillett Entertainment Group] , a Canadian-based sports and entertainment promoter.

On 6 August, 2007, Gillett bought a controlling interest of the NASCAR team Evernham Motorsports from founder Ray Evernham, thereby forming Gillett Evernham Motorsports. [ [ ESPN - Evernham sells majority share of team to Gillett - Nascar ] ]

On 27 March, 2008, Joey Saputo, chairman of USL First Division team Montreal Impact, confirmed talks with Gillett and MLS for a Montreal franchise. [cite news |url=,19528,11095_3353672,00.html |title= Gillett launches MLS bid |work= | work=Sky Sports| date= 2008-03-27 |accessdate= 2008-03-27]

Liverpool F.C.

Since October 2006, Gillett had been one of the parties interested in a proposed takeover of England football club Liverpool FC of the English Premiership. [ [ Moores holds up Liverpool takeover - Football News - Telegraph ] ] In January 2007, Reports stated that Gillett had made another bid for Liverpool. On 31 January 2007, Dubai International Capital announced they had pulled out of the deal, giving Gillett the opportunity to buy the club from David Moores. On 2 February, Gillett and Tom Hicks reached a deal with the clubs' board, which was sealed on 6 February, thought to be worth in the region of £435 million: £220 million to buy out existing shareholders (including approximately £44.8 million of debt), and £215 million for the new stadium proposed at nearby Stanley Park. The Board unanimously recommended that the clubs' shareholders accept this offer.

On 22 January 2008 a majority of Liverpool fans, at the game between Liverpool and Aston Villa, protested against Gillett and Hicks' running of the club, urging the pair to sell their shares in Liverpool FC to DIC. Neither owner, nor their representative Foster Gillett were present at the game. Gillett has reportedly been targeted by DIC to sell his shares. It has been reported that he has fallen out with Tom Hicks and in recent months has kept silent over his dealing with the club. [ [ The Anfield Divorce - Anfield Online] ] On 7 March, 2008, it was reported that Gillett had agreed to sell 98% of his Liverpool stock to DIC, [ [ - Soccer - DIC agrees to become Liverpool minority partner - Friday March 7, 2008 10:35PM ] ,] but Hicks blocked the sale.cite news | first=Jonathan | last=Northcroft | title=Anfield anarchy | date=2008-04-13 | publisher=News International Group | url =| work =The Sunday Times| accessdate = 2008-04-13] In an interview on Prime Time Sports in Canada, Gillett revealed that he and his family have received death threats from angry Liverpool fans: "The fans don’t want him (Tom Hicks) to have even one share of my stake in the club, based on what they are sending to me. As a result of that we [my family] have received many phone calls in the middle of the night threatening our lives, death threats. A number came to the office and my son, Foster, and daughter-in-law, Lauren, have received them." [ [ I can no longer work with Tom Hicks, says George Gillett Jr] ]

Other interests

Gillett's other current business interests include:
*Northland Services Inc. - a marine transportation company
*Great Northern Bark and Sierra Organics - landscaping and gardening products company
* [ Vista Auto Group] , an auto dealership chain selling Subaru, Dodge, Jeep & Chrysler in Silverthorne, Colorado and Subaru, Honda, Nissan & Chevrolet in Glenwood Springs, Colorado


External links

* [ Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club - Team Owner]
* [ Liverpool Football Club - Proposed New Stadium]
* [ Foreign Owners in Football]
* [ Liverpool FC Supporters Network]

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