Former Microsoft CEO to buy Clippers

Ex-Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer has agreed a record-breaking price of $2 billion for the Los Angeles-based side.

    Ballmer beat bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill [Getty Images]
    Ballmer beat bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill [Getty Images]

    Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for a record-breaking $2 billion. Now it is up to others whether the deal goes through.

    Shelly Sterling said in a statement that she had signed a binding contract for a sale of the Clippers by The Sterling Family Trust to Ballmer in what would be a record deal if approved by the NBA.

    Sterling negotiated the sale after her husband, Donald Sterling, made racist remarks that were made public.

    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.

    Steve Ballmer, Former CEO of Microsoft

    The remarks included Sterling telling girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring blacks to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

    Shelly Sterling's statement noted that she made the deal 'under her authority as the sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.'

    Donald Sterling's attorneys contend that he is a co-owner and therefore must give his assent for the deal to go through. They also say he won't be giving it.

    "Sterling is not selling the team," said his attorney, Bobby Samini.

    Ballmer's superior bid

    Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill after presenting a superior bid.

    It is rumoured that Ballmer made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home and laid out his plan.

    Ballmer said in a statement that he is honoured to have his name submitted to the NBA for approval and thanked the league for working collaboratively with him throughout the process.

    "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."

    Magic Johnson's approval

    Magic Johnson lauded the deal on his Twitter account: "Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!"

    A three-quarters vote of the 30 owners to support the charge against Donald Sterling would have resulted in the termination of both Sterlings' ownership of the franchise.

    Though according to the deal's terms Ballmer will own 100 percent of the team, Shelly Sterling may continue to be involved under conditions worked out privately with Ballmer, the individual said.

    This is not Ballmer's first foray into potential NBA ownership.

    Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed a group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving the team to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

    The bid was ultimately unsuccessful as the Sacramento mayor ensured the team stayed in California.

    The former Microsoft CEO helped Bill Gates transform the company from a startup with fewer than 40 employees and $12 million in annual revenue into the world's most valuable business.

    The pair met in 1973 while living down the hall from each other in a Harvard dorm.



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