NBA's Golden State Warriors Sold to Lacob, Guber for Record $450 Million

Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Golden State Warriors for $450 million, spending a record amount for a team that had the second-worst record in the National Basketball Association during the current owner’s tenure.

Lacob, managing partner at the San Francisco Bay area-based venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Guber, chairman of Mandalay Entertainment Group, bought the team from Christopher Cohan, according to Galatioto Sports Partners, which advised Cohan on the sale.

They outbid other potential buyers including Larry Ellison, the billionaire chief executive of Oracle Corp.

“I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be the next steward of this storied NBA franchise,” Lacob said in a news release. “This is my dream come true. Peter and I intend to do what we do best -- innovating and building.”

The Oakland, California-based Warriors cost Cohan $119 million in January 1995. He sold 20 percent to a group of local investors in July 2004.

Lacob is also an investor with the Boston Celtics, who won the team’s 17th NBA title 2008. Lacob must sell his share of the Celtics, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in an e-mail.

“Joe is an experienced investor and avid and knowledgeable basketball fan who will be an excellent owner for the Warriors,” Steve Pagliuca, one of the lead investors in the Celtics, said in an e-mail.

Money ‘On Line’

Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment makes movies and television shows and it owns or operates six minor-league baseball teams, according to the company’s Web site. His experience with those businesses will help in running the Warriors, he said.

“I have my time, reputation and money all on the line,” Guber said in an interview.

The NBA and its players union are negotiating a new labor contract, which Commissioner David Stern says must include more favorable terms for owners. The Lacob-Guber group gets a team in the nation’s sixth-largest television market, according to Nielsen. Golden State averaged 18,027 fans last season, 11th in the 30-team league.

The Warriors won two championships playing in Philadelphia between 1946 and 1962, and Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA record by scoring 100 points in one of the team’s games against the New York Knicks in the final season. The franchise relocated to San Francisco in 1962 and Oakland in 1971, winning a championship in 1975 with players including Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes.

Championships, Losses

Under Cohan, the Warriors had the worst playoff record in the NBA, making the postseason once in the past 16 campaigns. During his tenure, the team posted a 477-803 record, the second- worst in the league behind the Los Angeles Clippers. Golden State was 13th in the Western Conference last season with a 26- 56 record, 31 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

The previous record price for an NBA team was $401 million, for the Phoenix Suns in 2004. Galatioto also handled that sale.

“The sale process was extremely competitive and the price reflects the Warriors’ exceptional fan base, the outstanding demographics of the Bay Area, the high level of interest in the team and the strength of the NBA,” Galatioto said in the release.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at akuriloff@bloomberg.net.

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