consultants are sandburs

Friday, May 30, 2014

Ballmer to buy Clippers?

photo: screen capture, Seattle Times homepage

Seattle Times reports,

Shelly Sterling, L.A. Clippers co-owner, has signed an agreement with Steve Ballmer. The $2 billion deal would be the biggest sale in NBA history, but it’s subject to league approval.

By Geoff Baker - Seattle Times staff reporter


Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, throwing the future of Seattle’s efforts to land an NBA team into question.

Ballmer bid $2 billion, outdistancing the $1.6 billion offered by a group led by music mogul David Geffen and $1.2 billion from Los Angeles investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh. In a statement released late Thursday night, Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling said she’d signed a binding contract for a sale of the team by The Sterling Family Trust to Ballmer.

Ballmer “will be a terrific owner,” Sterling said. “We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premier NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success.”

The offer is the second-highest ever for a sports team. It is pending approval by the NBA, which would almost certainly stipulate that Ballmer must keep the team in Los Angeles and not move it to Seattle. In a statement released late Thursday night, Ballmer seemed to indicate he would keep the team in Los Angeles.

“I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win — and win big — in Los Angeles,” Ballmer said. “LA is one of the world’s great cities — a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness.”

A timeline on Sterling-Clipper things, online here.

It is interesting that Ballmer is photographed a few weeks before the $2 billion proto-deal is announced, head to head with the league's CEO. Also interesting, the "keep the Clippers in LA" rhetoric. Is it only a for now thing, is the thought that even with the Lakers there too LA is the better market than Seattle; or is the aim to wait a decorous time and then move the franchise to Seattle if the town builds Ballmer a venue-palace (after all I already paid two billion, so you guys build the arena)?

Or is Ballmer leaving the Pacific Northwest, headed to LA to be a high-roller in a town full of hustlers and high-rollers? He's got cash to play, wherever, however.

With Paul Allen owning the Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers; and presuming this Clipper thing goes through; what's on the table for Bill to buy as his comparable jock-toy? Or is Bill now too mature to so indulge? What would Buffet advise? Buy a railroad instead?

And Donald Sterling and estranged wife, that saga? With it likely a 50-50 divorce split, making politically incorrect statements seems to have paid off for the Sterlings, and let that be a lesson?

It is an interesting diversion from ordinary life, to watch a soap opera. This has been one.

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