Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has won a frenetic bidding war for ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, with a $2-billion offer that would set a record price for an NBA team.
Ballmer bid higher than competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Geffen group offered $1.6 billion and the Ressler-Karsh group $1.2 billion. People familiar with both those offers said they were rejected.
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.