The bidding war for the LA Clippers is over with Steve Ballmer coming out on top with the winning bid of $2 billion. I’d actually call this a better investment that the $3 billion that Tim Cook spent on Dr Dre and Beats, but I digress. Ballmer beat out other bidders that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group.
Ballmer and Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling concluded a deal late Thursday afternoon. But Bobby Samini, an attorney for Donald Sterling, said as he left the team co-owner’s home: “There’s been no sale. There can be no sale without Donald’s signature.”
The sale price would be almost four times the previous NBA franchise high: the $550 million paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is the second highest price ever paid for a sports team in North America. The Dodgers sold in 2012 for $2.1 billion.
Donald Sterling agreed last week to allow his wife to conduct a sale of the team. The process was rushed to beat a Tuesday deadline five days ahead of an NBA hearing to oust her family from ownership. Donald Sterling had insulted African Americans in a secret audio recording.
Donald Sterling 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 three-fourths of the 30 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 home in Seattle.
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