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 DETROIT, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Ilitch today became the

official owner of the Detroit Tigers Baseball Club. Both the American and National League owners approved Ilitch in a unanimous vote.
 "My family and I are ecstatic. It is the achievement of a lifelong dream for me -- the icing on the cake. I believe that both Tom Monaghan and I are happy with the agreement that we have reached," said Ilitch. "He has been great to deal with throughout our negotiations."
 "With the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars Pizza's world headquarters, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Arena, The Fox Theatre, and the Detroit Drive, the purchase of the Detroit Tigers further strengthens our commitment to Detroit. We look forward to working with the people in the Tiger organization. And, we hope to bring both a Stanley Cup and a World Series championship to Detroit," Ilitch added.
 Ilitch's link to the Tigers goes back to his high school days when he was scouted by the Tigers as a player to watch. After graduation from Cooley High School and four years in the Marines, he signed with the Tigers. Ilitch played on their farm team for three years, but a leg injury kept him from the major leagues.
 With dimming hope of hitting the baseball big time, Ilitch left the Tigers to pursue dreams of business ownership. He opened his first Little Caesars Pizza restaurant with his wife, Marian, in 1959 in Garden City, Mich.
 Today, Little Caesars Pizza is the world's largest internationally franchised carry-out pizza chain, with more than 4,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada, England and Puerto Rico.
 Over the last five years, Little Caesars has nearly tripled its systemwide sales. By the end of this year, the company projects to have sales of $2.16 billion and a total of 4,575 restaurants.
 In the Aug. 3, 1992, issue of Nation's Restaurant News, Little Caesars was ranked No. 1 in both U.S. systemwide sales growth and growth in number of U.S. units out of all pizza chains, posting 25-percent increases over the previous year in each category. And, in the March 20, 1992, issue of Restaurant Business, Little Caesars was ranked ninth among the top 50 franchise systems according to the number of restaurants open by the end of 1991.
 The Ilitches' business success afforded them the opportunity to become sports franchise owners. The family purchased the Detroit Red Wings and their farm team, the Adirondack Red Wings, in June 1982. They also purchased Olympia Arenas, Inc., the management company for the Wings, that same year.
 Olympia Arenas, Inc. now manages Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Arena, the Glens Falls Arena in New York, The Fox Theatre, and the Meadow Brook Music Festival in Rochester, Mich.
 Under Mike and Marian Ilitch's ownership, the Detroit Red Wings have become the most valuable team in the National Hockey League according to an analysis done by Financial World magazine for its July 7 issue. Marian Ilitch, who oversees the financial end of all of their businesses, was in 1990 named one of the most powerful executives in the NHL by USA Today.
 Further, the Red Wings have once again become an NHL team to contend with, winning the 1986/87, 1987/88 and 1991/92 seasons Norris Division Championships.
 In 1987, the Ilitches purchased the historic Fox Theatre in Detroit, renovated and reopened it in 1988, and in 1989 moved Little Caesars' corporate headquarters to the adjoining 10-story office building. The family has so far invested $50 million in the Fox Center. The purchase of the Tigers will add to the substantial investment that the family already has made in the revitalization of the downtown area.
 Michael and Marian Ilitch are well-known in Detroit and around the country as deeply committed community leaders, donating their time and resources to countless charitable organizations. Mr. Ilitch is chairman of the board of Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc., as well as all the other Ilitch family businesses. Mrs. Ilitch is secretary/treasurer.
 Recently, Michael Ilitch was presented with a 1992 Golden Chain Award by Nation's Restaurant News for his outstanding leadership, recent accomplishments, and career achievements among chain executives. The award honors chain executives who have made significant contributions to their companies and to the foodservice industry.
 Last year, he won the Lester Patrick Trophy from the NHL for outstanding service to hockey in the U.S., and the Giant Steps Award from the Northeastern University Center for Study of Sport in Society. In 1990, the Harvard Business School Club of Detroit presented Mr. Ilitch with the Business Statesman Award for outstanding business leadership and performance, significant contributions to the climate of economic and commercial development in Michigan, and substantial and dedicated service to the community.
 Mr. Ilitch, excited about this new venture, concluded, "I appreciate everybody's efforts on getting this deal done, including our Little Caesars in-house financial staff, Jerry Pasternak, Scott Fisher and John Kotlar, and legal counsel, Jay Bielfield. Thanks also to our outside experts. Our financial advisers were Gerald C. Timmis III of W.Y. Campbell & Company, and Robert Mylod, Richard Webb and Tom Wagner of Michigan National Bank. And, our legal advisers were Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stock, led by John Collins."
 -0- 8/26/92
 /CONTACT: Sue Sherbow of Little Caesars, 313-983-6175; or Dan Ewald of Detroit Tigers, 313-962-4000/ CO: Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc.; Detroit Tigers Baseball Club ST: Michigan IN: LEI SU: TNM

ML -- DE009 -- 3500 08/26/92 13:31 EDT
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Date:Aug 26, 1992

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