Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ballmer Baller: Former Microsoft CEO submits highest bid To Buy Clippers ( $2 Billion ) This would be the 2nd Highest Price Paid For Any US Sport Team Ever ...... However , don't expect Donald Sterling to make things easy for the NBA !


Shelly Sterling Will Protect NBA From Donald Sterling Lawsuit

Shelly Sterling Will Protect NBA From Donald Sterling Lawsuit
Look, Shelly Sterling is not the good guy. She's up to her shoulder-pads in court-sworn evidence from discrimination lawsuits, near as much as Donald. But this is an O.G. move. According to ESPN, Donald Sterling's estranged wife has agreed to indemnify the league from any lawsuits, including those from Donald, related to the $2 billion offer from Steve Ballmer that the Sterling Family Trust accepted.
The indemnification is actually part of the sale to Ballmer, since it is technically still being carried out at gunpoint, and includes an agreement to not sue the league on behalf of Shelly Sterling and the trust. The indemnity means, essentially, that the trust will secure the league against anything that happens in a suit. This will help move the deal forward on both sides, but it's an especially big win for the NBA. It is sort of a crazy move on the part of the trust, but it seems like Shelly just wants to push this thing through at all costs; this ensures Shelly's going to get paid. Still, a deal like this represents a sizable bet against Donald on the part of the Trust.
That said, as plenty of smart folks like Michael McCann and others on Sports Law Twitter are already pointing out, though, how much this means depends on the scope of the indemnity agreement. This likely covers the sale of the team, and so forth, but Sterling's also made motions that he might even go after the NBA via anti-trust laws and breach of his constitutional rights, which are totally separate things.
The agreement brings up the hilarious possibility of him beating the league, but being paid from a pile of money that is half his. So basically, Donald Sterling is suing half of himself, for a bunch of money he doesn't even want. But that might just be fine with him. As he's said, a few billion is nothing to him at this stage of his life. And if he just wants to watch the world burn, a pissed off, dying billionaire looking to embarrass the league could do a whole lot of damage.

According to TMZ's sources, Steve Ballmer's $2 billion offer is not only coming solely from him (no ownership group or partners), but in straight cash, homey. When you're rich, you don't write checks.

Report: Steve Ballmer Agrees To Buy Clippers For $2 Billion (Updated)

Report: Steve Ballmer Agrees To Buy Clippers For $2 Billion (Updated)SEXPAND
The LA Times is reporting that Steve Ballmer, the hugely Photoshoppable former Microsoft CEO, has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, winning the bidding war to take over ownership from Donald Sterling.
The $2 billion figure would be a record for an NBA franchise. The previous high was $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks, set just six weeks ago.
The agreement with Ballmer hinges on the agreement of Donald Sterling, who has gone back and forth on how hard he will fight it—recently saying he'd fight the NBA "to the death," though somewhat backing off that recently. His wife, however, has been in favor of selling the team.
We'd point out that while $2 billion is a MASSIVE amount of money, it sort goes to further exacerbate the real sticking point in any forced sale: the capital gains tax. There's a Sterling family trust, and whatever configuration of taxes would be applied to the sale look like they would be north of $500 million.
The NBA today said that it would look into waiving Board of Governors vote on Sterling's ownership, scheduled for June 3, if a buyer and transfer looks like it will be secured without it. This would allow the NBA to sidestep a fight over the legality of its decision. Despite the years and years and years of evidence of material, harmful acts of racist housing discrimination and other gross stories, the league's case hinged around the audio of Sterling fleshing out racist world views, and Sterling actually raised a compelling point recently, that the punishment for similar public bigotry (notably Kobe and Shaq) was nowhere near as severe as a forced sale.
Ballmer is worth around $20 billion, and does not appear to have partnered with an ownership group; if he buys, it'll all belong to the chrome dome. Last year, he had been part of a group that attempted to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle (where Microsoft is based). There is no indication that Ballmer will attempt to move the team to Seattle—L.A. is a huuuuge market, obviously—but to be extra sure, the league will have to unanimously OK the sale, and will request Ballmer's agreement to not relocate the team. (That said, Clay Bennett promised to make a "good faith effort" to keep the Sonics in Seattle, so those agreements don't go very far once rubber meets road.)
This would be great for the league in a number of ways, in large part because Ballmer would be a very fun owner and is great in public, while at the same time carrying the reputation of instituting nightmarish corporate structure at Microsoft and squandering a huge lead in the marketplace—which would fit in just fine with the Clippers as we know them.
It is, however, a loss, only in that the next-leading bid (reportedly $1.6 billion) was from the Guggenheim group, which is led by David Geffen, but includes Magic Johnson, and Magic sitting in the owner's box at the end of all this might have been enough ironic satisfaction to just fix race relations, permanently, for the rest of time.
Update (8:14 p.m. EDT): Dakota Smith of the Los Angeles Daily News is also reporting that a source tells her there has been no agreement on a final bid, and the Times jumped the gun.
Meanwhile, LA Times tech reporter Andrea Chang reports from Sterling's home that his lawyer tells her, "My belief is he will not sell this team." He also said that since Sterling "already had a couple billion dollars," even if the bid had been $10 billion, it "wouldn't change his life in any way." Follow Chang here for up-to-the-minute coverage from the Sterling residence.
Update (9:24 p.m. EDT): Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports that the "Sterling family trust" has agreed to sell the team, and Donald Sterling's approval was not needed to sell the team.
Update (11:10 p.m. EDT): More from Shelburne. She reported that Donald Sterling was apparently deemed mentally unfit by "experts," which is how the Sterling family trust—including estranged wife Shelly Sterling—was able to sell without his signature.
Espn has learned that experts had declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated, leaving Shelly as sole trustee & power to sell the team

Ballmer Baller: Former Microsoft CEO To Buy Clippers For $2 Billion: 2nd Highest Price Paid For Any US Sport Team Ever

Tyler Durden's picture

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

Shandra Martinez | smartinez@mlive.comBy Shandra Martinez | 
on May 28, 2014 at 1:50 PM, updated May 28, 2014 at 7:18 PM
sterling devos.jpgLos Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, left, and Rich DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic 

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.

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.

SPORTSMONEY  857 views

Unfortunately, Reports of Sterling's Departure May Again Be Exaggerated

Donald T. Sterling
Sterling World Plaza
Beverly Hills, Calif. 90210
Dear Donald,
Remember me? I hope this isn’t necessary but in view of recent events, I’d better re-introduce myself: Mark Heisler? The guy who wrote you open letters in the newspaper for 25 years of fun at your defiantly bumbling expense?
Well, I had fun and readers seemed to like it, asking why I bothered writing about Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. You were even unfailingly gracious. (I took it as a compliment when you pointed me out to friends at courtside, saying, “This is Heisler!”)
Of course, you were small-time then. Now you belong to the world!
Having disgraced yourself with the racist comments you made to V. Stiviano, whom your attorney now calls “the woman he loves”… in that conversation taped after you backed Shelly’s suit to reclaim the $1.8 home and $600K worth of Ferraris, Porsches, Mercedes that you gave V…. you’ve decided not to let Shelly auction the team off, after all.
Your famed anti-trust attorney, Maxwell Blecher, just told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that you’re taking your Clippers back, have no intention of selling and will fight to “the bloody end.” (Or, as they say in Max’s firm, “Ka-ching!” And, “You’re getting the money up front, right?”)

The only question is: The bloody end of what? Your tenure as Clipper owner? Your marriage? Your life?

Now for the act we've all been waiting for... 'The Bloody End!'   (Associated Press Photo)
Now for the act we’ve all been waiting for… ‘The Bloody End!’ (Associated Press Photo)
Wait a second… Thursday afternoon the Los Angeles Times just reported you and Shelly have accepted a $2 billion deal from ex-Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer?
Was that the new “bloody end” or merely the latest twist in this tale: You won’t sell, you sign team over to Shelly, Shelly holds auction, you say you’re renouncing your agreement?
Why am I thinking further developments await, like the reported price is way too high, and this is just the very latest attempt to stall Tuesday’s vote by the owners to throw you (and Shelly) out–which the league has announced over and over through all the reports of ongoing talks that it intends to hold on schedule?
In Wednesday’s since-disavoved disavowal, Blecher announced the agreement that you signed with Shelly “was something he wouldn’t think of doing today. It’s an evolutionary process; he’s gone from ‘shock and awe’ to, ‘Go get ‘em and kill ‘em.’ ”
Not that I know anything about anti-trust but when did, “He doesn’t feel the way he did when he signed that” become a point of law?
It’s only laughable for people who don’t know you. You’ve long renounced things you signed and pursued who-do-you-believe-me-or-your-eyes cases. You actually claimed to an arbitrator that Coach-GM Mike Dunleavy wasn’t fired–despite team announcements to the contrary at the time–he just stopped coming to the office. (Dunleavy got the entire $13 million he claimed he was owed.)
Gee, I had such hopes for you.
In all seriousness, I wrote you a letter Sunday in the Orange Country Register when it looked like you might exit as gracefully as you were capable of.
Even if you now poll lower than O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Bernie Madoff, I suggested a simple way out: Apologize, this time without blaming anyone else. Sell the team. Take your $1.2 billion profit. Pay the capital appreciation tax, which will still leave you with $800 million. (It’s America. It’s your fair share. I mean, seeing as how you can’t actually take it with you, although I bet you have researched it.)
Then, live your life in such away as to prove that this misadventure wasn’t really you… even if that means inventing a whole new you with your vast fortune, in the time you have left after battling prostate cancer for two years.

What an idiot–me, I mean. Of all people, I should have known that you’re you because it’s all that you know.
I used to wonder if it was right to be so light-hearted with someone who had such sinister overtones. Now it’s no longer just gossip. There’s first-hand testimony to your Jay-Gatsby-as-kamikaze-pilot life.
With comedy having become tragedy, I vowed to retire the act… until you turned it, instead, into a long-running, you-won’t-believe-this-one farce. Damned or not, you won’t go away.
If it’s now a huge story, it’s really only about you unless some judge, who doesn’t care about public scorn, grants a preliminary injuction that bars the NBA from proceeding. Having finally, formally, arrayed the entire world against yourself—minorities, majorities, moralists, pragmatists, fans, players, NBA officials, sponsors—you lose in the end, whenever that is.
In the meantime, thanks for the memories!