A Seattle-based group led by Valiant Capital founder Chris Hansen raised its bid for the Sacramento Kings by $75 million to $625 million, five days before National Basketball Association team owners vote on whether to approve relocation.
A 12-member panel of team owners on April 29 recommended unanimously that the NBA Board of Governors reject Hansen’s bid to buy the Kings from the Maloof family and instead accept an offer put together by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player. A final vote of the 30 franchise owners is scheduled for May 15.
“In an effort to further demonstrate the extent of our commitment to bring basketball back to Seattle, we have elected to voluntarily increase our proposed purchase price,” Hansen said yesterday in a blog post.
The record for an NBA team sale is $450 million, which Joe Lacob and Peter Guber spent to buy the Golden State Warriors in 2010.
Hansen pointed out that the ownership group, which includes Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, has acquired all the property needed to build a new arena and has in place all the private funding for the venue.
“While we appreciate that this is a very difficult decision for the league and owners, we hope it is understood that we really believe the time is now to bring the NBA back to Seattle, and that it is paramount that we do everything we can to put Seattle’s best foot forward in this process,” Hansen said.
Seattle lost its team in 2008, when the SuperSonics ended their 41-year stay by moving to Oklahoma City and becoming the Thunder.
Golden State Warriors part-owner Vivek Ranadive, the founder of Tibco Software Inc. (TIBX), would become the Kings’ new majority owner and a new arena would be built in Sacramento if NBA owners vote not to let the team relocate and the Maloofs agree to sell to the Sacramento group.
“The NBA leadership and owners have always said that their decision would not be dictated by a bidding war,” Johnson said yesterday on Twitter. “I believe the owners realize that there is far more to think about than just an increased bid. They know what this story means to the NBA.”
The Kings have been owned by the Maloofs since July 1999. The family reached a preliminary deal with Sacramento in February 2012 to build a new arena, only to have the accord fall through within two months.
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