A Look at the Oilers’ New Owner

February 6, 2008

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When news came down the wire that Daryl Katz, the Forbes list owner of Katz Group Inc., whose 1,800 drugstores across the continent include Rexall, Pharma Plus, I.D.A, and Guardian outlets, had received 100% of the shares in the Edmonton Oilers, we thought to look into just who Katz was and how he got started.

While his pitch to shareholders included character testimonials from big names like Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky, Katz is a notoriously private man – some have gone so far as to call him a prairie Bruce Wayne. That will likely change now that the self-proclaimed Oilers super fan has bought the franchise amid almost universal fanfare.

Edmontonians seem to like Katz, and its understandable why. The son of a pharmacist attended the University of Alberta for both his B.A. and his law degree and then dabbled in the frozen yogurt market before he and his father bought the Canadian franchise rights to Medicine Shoppe Pharmacies in 1991. From there, the Katz family’s private company grew and grew. Six years later, it began acquiring new assets at fire-sale prices through leveraged buyouts and then cutting management prices to make them affordable. The Katz Group is now the seventh largest drugstore chain on the continent, with its 46 year-old’s personal wealth estimated at $2 billion.

Check out this article by Gordon Pitts in the Globe and Mail in 2004. In it, Katz explains how his small business owner’s mentality has kept him insecure, and thus on-guard. It also shows how Katz adapted to growth.

Here’s another great profile from Keith Gerein of the Edmonton Journal from earlier this year.

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