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Memphis Grizzlies’ Sale to Pera Group Is Approved by NBA Owners

Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies grabs a rebound against the Orlando Magic at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Photographer: Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images
Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies grabs a rebound against the Orlando Magic at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. Photographer: Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Memphis Grizzlies’ sale to a group led by Ubiquiti Networks Inc. Chief Executive Officer Robert Pera was approved by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors.

The approval made actor/singer Justin Timberlake and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his wife, Ashley, Grizzlies minority owners.

The board, comprised of ownership representatives from the league’s 30 franchises, voted unanimously to approve the sale, the NBA said in a statement.

“Robert will no doubt bring great energy and passion to the franchise,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “He has assembled an ownership group with very strong local ties and we anticipate that their commitment to the Memphis area will greatly benefit both the team and the community.”

Pera, 34, committed to keeping the Grizzlies in Memphis when he agreed to purchase the franchise from Michael Heisley in June. Completion of the sale required approval by 75 percent approval.

Timberlake and Ashley Manning are Memphis area natives, while other investors include former NBA player Penny Hardaway, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The agreement is worth $350 million, ESPN reported in June, citing people with knowledge of Heisley’s plan. The Grizzlies are worth $269 million, according to Forbes’ annual list of franchise valuations, among NBA franchises.

Pera’s stake in San Jose, California-based Ubiquiti is worth about $700 million, after topping $2 billion on May 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The wireless-network equipment company went public in October 2011.

Playoff Team

The Grizzlies, who moved from Vancouver in 2001, went 41-25 during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA season, falling to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

The NBA yesterday announced that its All-Star Game ballots will now prompt fans to vote for two guards and three “frontcourt” players. Fans previously picked two guards, two forwards and one center.

“Having the center position as the only specific position singled out on the ballot was outdated and not representative of today’s game or players,” Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, said in a statement. “Our players have become more versatile each season, and this ballot will more accurately reflect that versatility.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at mlevinson@bloomberg.net

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

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