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OCTOBER 20, 2003

Gillett to come to the aid of Montreal?

It is reported that George Gillett Jr and the Molson Family are looking at investing in the company that owns the Canadian Grand Prix.

Gillett, who is 65 this week, is an American businessman with a varied background in sports management, the media, meat-packing and the ski industry. A Wisconsin by birth he worked for the McKinsey management company in the 1960s before becoming the business manager and part-owner of the Miami Dolphins in 1966. The following year he bought the Harlem Globetrotters and turned the basketball team into a worldwide phenomenon.

In the 1970s he diversified, buying the USA's largest meat packing company in Green Bay, Wisconson, and launched a small communications company, buying three local TV stations and expanded this business in the 1980s until he owned more than 20 TV stations and 22 newspapers.

In the late 1980s he bought the ski resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek and increased revenues dramatically in the years that followed but in 1992 he was forced to file for a $66.2m personal backruptcy after his holding company defaulted on $983m of junk bonds.

He bounced back in the late 1990s to establish Booth Creek Management and buy eight ski resorts. In 2001 he bought an 80.1% share of the Montreal Canadiens and the Molson Centre in Montreal from the Molson Family. In 2002 he joined forces with investment company Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst to buy control of the ConAgra Meats Company for $1.4bn.

Now based in Colorado, Gillett is involved in the consortium which established the Grand Prix of Denver.