The NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Islanders from Charles Wang to businessmen Jonathan Ledecky and Scott Malkin, Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday.
The deal, which Bettman said has not been finalized, calls for Ledecky and Malkin to own a minority stake in the team once it is complete. They will assume majority control in two years, with Wang retaining a minority stake in the team.
Bettman said no issues were raised by the Board of Governors -- which is composed of representatives of all 30 NHL teams -- regarding Wang's insistence on a two-year period of ceding control.
"There's some documentation that has to be finished and the transaction actually has to close," said Bettman, who made the announcement after the board's quarterly meeting in New York City. "My guess is they're going to try and move it as quickly as possible. It's not going to happen tomorrow because there is some work to do. But I think they're probably shooting to get it done before the start of the season next week. If they miss it, that doesn't mean anything bad."
Bettman said the deal "provides an orderly transition, which was important to Charles."
On Aug. 19, the Islanders announced they had reached a deal to sell the team to Ledecky and Malkin. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Bettman said Ledecky and Malkin would "bring in some additional ownership expertise, resources."
Ledecky, who could not be reached for comment, was chairman of Lincoln Holdings, which held interests in the NHL's Washington Capitals and the NBA's Washington Wizards.
Malkin is chairman of UK-based Value Retail, a syndicator of high-end European retail outlets.
Wang, who attended the meeting with Islanders alternate governor Arthur McCarthy, did not divulge the result of the vote as he left moments before Bettman made the official announcement. Wang said he wasn't allowed to reveal the outcome.
Wang said he would speak "when the time is right."
Wang, a billionaire founder of Computer Associates, a Long Island software company now known as CA and based in Manhattan, tried unsuccessfully for nearly a decade to develop the Lighthouse Project, which would have had as its centerpiece a new arena for the team in Uniondale. Plans to renovate Nassau Coliseum, including a Nassau County referendum in 2011 that would have financed a $400 million face-lift, failed.
Wang announced in October 2012 that he would move the team to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The team will play its final season in Nassau Coliseum before moving to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season.
Wang, along with former Computer Associates chief executive Sanjay Kumar, bought the Islanders in 2000, paying $74.2 million and assuming $97 million in existing liabilities.