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UPDATE 1-RIM CEO wins US antitrust ok, files to move Coyotes

 * US FTC says won't block Balsillie bid to buy Coyotes
 * Balsillie files Monday to relocate team - court papers
 * Says has agreement on Hamilton arena renovation
 (Adds quotes, detail, background on team move)
 NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, June 2 (Reuters) - An effort to buy
the National Hockey League's bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes and move
the team to Canada advanced on Tuesday when U.S. antitrust
authorities cleared the proposed purchase by a top executive of
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd RIM.TO.
 Antitrust officials completed their review of co-chief
executive officer James Balsillie's plan to buy the Coyotes
without taking any action to block it, the U.S. Federal Trade
Commission said in a notice.
 Balsillie offered to buy the money-losing hockey team in
May for $212.5 million when it filed for bankruptcy protection,
on condition it be relocated to Hamilton, Ontario.
 Balsillie's PSE Sports and Entertainment LP and the Coyotes
submitted their application to the NHL for the relocation the
Coyotes to Hamilton, a city of about 500,000 between Toronto
and Buffalo, New York, according to documents filed Monday in
federal bankruptcy court in Arizona.
 In their application, Balsillie and the Coyotes argued the
team cannot thrive in Phoenix.
 "The club is not, never has been and never will be
financially viable, consistently supported by fans and a
leading professional sports team in Arizona," they said in the
application.
 Balsillie and the Coyotes argued that a smaller city such
as Hamilton could successfully support a team, drawing a
comparison with the National Football League, which they said
has prospered despite the absence of a franchise in Los
Angeles, while having a strong fan base in a smaller market
such as Green Bay, Wisconsin, home of the Packers team.
 They also said that PSE has secured favorable lease terms
with Copps Coliseum, the presumptive home of any Hamilton
franchise, and has a renovation plan to expand it, apparently
in response to the NHL's criticism of the arena.
 NHL officials have said the league is committed to keeping
the team in Phoenix and have fought with Coyotes' owner Jerry
Moyes over who controls the hockey team.
 The Coyotes have never made a profit since moving to
Arizona from Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1996, with combined losses
of $73 million from 2005 to 2008, according to court
documents.
 A hearing to decide whether the Coyotes can be relocated if
no local buyer matches Balsillie's offer is set for June 9.
Last week the judge overseeing the case, Redfield Baum, ordered
an auction for the club to be held June 22, if he rules the
team can be moved.
 Legal arguments for the June 9 hearing must be filed by
Friday.
 The case is in Re: Dewey Ranch Hockey LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy
Court, District of Arizona, No. 09-09488.
 (Reporting by Phil Wahba and Julie Vorman, editing by Dave
Zimmerman and Tim Dobbyn)


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