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Matt Levine

Bank of America Knew How to Sell a Basketball Team

Young bankers: Always write a few really big numbers in your presentations, just in case the buyer likes the looks of them.

Here's the draft pitchbook that Bank of America used to sell the Los Angeles Clippers on behalf of Shelly and Donald Sterling, the team's bitterly feuding owners. ESPN found it in the court filings in the Sterlings' divorce case, and I guess we should talk about it.

Right away one thing to notice is that the Clippers are always referred to as "Claret," because this is a highly confidential presentation, and you wouldn't want anyone to be able to figure out that the Clippers were for sale if it fell into the wrong hands. So there's not the slightest hint in this book that it's about the Clippers, except for little things like how on the first page it makes clear it's about a basketball team located in Los Angeles, on page 2 it mentions the Lakers as a comparison, and on page 7 it straight up has a Clippers logo. Also, everyone knew the Clippers were for sale: This deck is dated May 25, and in April the National Basketball Association had banned Sterling from owning the team and publicly told him to sell.