Platinum Equity Founder Gores Receives NBA’s Approval to Purchase Pistons

Tom Gores, the founder of Platinum Equity, gained unanimous approval from the National Basketball Association’s board of governors to purchase the Detroit Pistons.

“I understand the importance of the trust that has been placed in us and we’re very excited to be a part of something as special as the NBA,” Gores said in an e-mailed statement last night. “We can’t wait to make a difference in Detroit. We look forward to getting to work right away.”

The $420 million purchase includes the Pistons, the Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre, according to a Detroit Free Press report in February. Financial terms haven’t been disclosed.

“We look forward to the Pistons’ continued growth, both on and off the court,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said last night in a news release.

The Pistons won’t comment on the sale until it closes this month, Kevin Grigg, a spokesman for the team, said in a telephone interview.

The 46-year-old Gores is a native of Flint, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan State University. He is the founder and chairman of Beverly Hills, California-based private equity firm Platinum Equity, which owns 34 companies in industries including technology, industrials and automotive supply.

The Pistons have made the playoffs in eight of the past 10 seasons and won the last of their three NBA titles in 2004. The team was 30-52 this season, 32 games behind the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Central division.

The team’s value dropped 25 percent to $360 million from 2010 to 2011, according to Forbes magazine.

The Pistons are the second NBA team to be sold this season. In December, the league bought the New Orleans Hornets from George Shinn for an undisclosed price. The Hornets are worth $280 million, the fifth-lowest valuation in the league, according to Forbes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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