Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer to buy LA Clippers for US$2 bn
Former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer has won the bidding for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers franchise with a US$2 billion offer, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported today.
Ballmer outbid two groups, one led by media mogul David Geffen that offered US$1.6 billion and another from Los Angeles investors who bid US$1.2 billion, the Times reported without identifying its source.
Ballmer's spokesperson had no immediate comment.
David Geffen, television icon Oprah Winfrey and Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison have bid more than US$1.5 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, according to a person familiar with the bid.
The bid was one of several for the franchise. Geffen's group also includes Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter and President Todd Boehly.
Another group, which includes former basketball player Grant Hill and financier Tony Ressler, is believed to have bid US$1.2 billion.
The bids were reviewed by co-owner Shelly Sterling, whose husband and co-owner Donald Sterling was banned from owning a team by the National Basketball Association for racist statements he made in a recorded conversation. The league has scheduled a June 3 hearing at which Donald Sterling can address the charges.
Sterling has pledged to fight the charges against him, and may file a lawsuit to stop the NBA from taking action, his lawyer Maxwell Blecher said in interview with the New York Times. His wife needs his approval to sell the team, the lawyer also said.Sterling, controlling owner of the Clippers for 33 years, was banned from the NBA after an audio recording surfaced of him criticizing a female friend for publicly associating with black people.
His comments sparked widespread outrage from fans and NBA players and led several commercial sponsors to sever ties with the team.