Ballmer Baller: Former Microsoft CEO To Buy Clippers For $2 Billion: 2nd Highest Price Paid For Any US Sport Team Ever
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/29/2014 19:32 -0400
Former MSFT CEO, Steve Ballmer, who earlier was said to have put in a $1.8 billion bid for the LA Clippers, is reported to have won the bidding war for the troubled sports team, and will shelve out a massive $2 billion: a record price for any NBA team, and four times the $550 million that was paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is also the second highest price ever paid for any US sports team, only behind the $2.1 billion paid for the Dodgers in 2012.
From the LA Times:
Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer won a frenetic bidding war for ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, with his $2-billion offer setting a record price for an NBA team, The Times has learned. Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler at $1.2 billion.The sale price is almost four times the highest previous NBA franchise sale price -- the $550 million paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is second only to the Dodgers' 2012 sale for $2.1 billion as the highest price for any sports team in North America.The prospective sale by Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling comes five days ahead of an NBA hearing to oust her family from ownership following a controversy in which Donald Sterling insulted African-Americans in a secret audio recording.
There appears to be one contingency: the approval of Donald Sterling whose rant caused the forced transaction in the first place:
The tentative deal still must receive the blessing of her husband, Donald Sterling, who has waxed and waned on the question of whether he would allow his wife to sell the team he has controlled for more than three decades. The deal also needs the eventual approval of 29 other NBA owners, but is expected to clear that hurdle as long as Ballmer reaffirms his pledge to keep the team in Los Angeles and not move it to Seattle, where he lives.
As for Ballmer, he will be the proud owner of an NBA franchise for a measly 10% of his net worth:
Ballmer, 58, left the software giant in February and has an estimated net worth of $20 billion. Unlike other bidders, he did not immediately seek out partners for the purchase of the Clippers.Ballmer last year joined a group, led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, to bid on the Sacramento Kings, intending to move the team to Seattle. NBA owners voted to reject the proposed move.The businessman said in a recent interview that he had no intention of moving the Clippers. He said that the high valuations for the team only made sense in Los Angeles -- the second biggest media market in the country.
Oh well, nothing like a little bidding frenzy among billionaires to change one's mind about what a "fair valuation" is. Some of the more cynically inclined are already wondering whether the Clippers will be instantly worth $3 billion the moment Ballmer announces his retirement.
In other news: welcome to the basket bubble.
Donald Sterling pulls Amway's Rich DeVos into NBA flap over HIV, gay marriage comments
ADA, MI -- Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling isn’t going down without a fight, and he is bringing Amway co-founder and Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos into the fray.
In a lengthy response to the NBA - which has banished, fined him and pressured him to sell his team in the wake of racist comments - Sterling calls his treatment by the professional basketball league a sham. He suggests there is a double standard in how he is being treated for his racist comments versus anti-gay marriage comments made years earlier by DeVos.
In the document, Sterling notes DeVos "has made highly controversial comments against individuals with HIV/AIDS and generously supports anti-homosexual causes with impugnity (sic)."
Sterling is referring to an interview DeVos gave to The Grand Rapids Press/MLive in 2009, for the 50th anniversary of his company, which has grown into the world's biggest multi-level marketing company, selling cosmetics, vitamins and household products through more than 3 million distributors.
In the interview, DeVos says he donated $100,000 in 2008 in support of a Florida state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage because it was a “sacred issue of respecting marriage.”
“It was not an anti-gay thing,” said DeVos at the time, noting he has been considered a foe of the gay community since he served on President Reagan’s first AIDS commission.
“From that point on, that’s when they were hanging me in effigy because I wasn’t sympathetic to all of their requests for special treatment. Because at that time it was always somebody else’s fault. And I said, 'You are responsible for your actions, too, you know. Conduct yourself properly,' which is a pretty solid Christian principle. You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions. It went from there to a series of requests for special treatment … .”
He added he supported gay unions, but not gay marriage.
“But marriage is a sacred document, OK? A sacred sacrament in the church and in the world.Don’t mess with it.”
He added that he has friends and employees who are gay.
“I respect them. They’re terrific. I am good friends with them. But you live your life the way you want to live and I’ll live mine and I won’t stick my nose in yours. But don’t keep trying to change things. That’s all.”
In the response to the NBA Board of Governors released Tuesday, May 27, Sterling said that in addition to his earlier comments, DeVos previously donated $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage Education Fund, the group behind California’s controversial Proposal 8 campaign, a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage. NOM supports similar efforts in other states.
But Sterling’s accusation is not accurate. The 2009 donation came from DeVos’ youngest son, Doug DeVos, through his Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation.
That contribution, discovered in 2012, sparked a boycott of Amway and DeVos family businesses, including the Orlando Magic. The boycott is led by Fred Karger, the founder and president of Rights Equal Rights, created to fight Proposal 8.
RELATED: Amway makes no apologies for president Doug DeVos' 'private gift' to anti-gay marriage group
Sterling appears to be trying to show that his racist comments - which were recorded by his mistress in a private conversation - are comparable to DeVos’ five-year-old public comments about gays and AIDS.
The linking of Sterling to DeVos began several weeks ago in the sports media, when blogs and columnists began suggesting that the 88-year-old DeVos could become the next target of the NBA.
It's a topic that has ignited debate in the social media sphere among sports media, and commentators.
Mike Bianchi, sports writer for the Orlando Sentinel, was one of several to suggest that DeVos could be “the next owner to be scrutinized for a stance that is considered biased and bigoted by some in this world ?”
Amway referred questions regarding Sterling's comments to the Orlando Magic, which is declining at this time to comment.