Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has agreed to purchase the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Ballmer and Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling reportedly settled on the deal late Thursday afternoon although Bobby Samini, an attorney for Donald Sterling, pointed out that there can be no sale without Donald’s signature.
If successful, the deal would be the highest ever paid for an NBA franchise and the second highest ever for a sports franchise in North America. The previous high was $550 million paid for the Milwaukee Bucks earlier this month. The all-time high for a sports team is $2.1 billion for the Dodgers in 2012.
Donald Sterling has run the Clippers for more than three decades but when a recent audio clip surfaced of him insulting African Americans, the NBA took quick action and banned him from the league for life. Last week, the owner agreed to let his wife sell the team ahead of an NBA hearing that aimed to oust the family from ownership.
In addition to a signature from Donald Sterling, the sale would need to be approved by at least three-fourths of the 30 NBA owners. There likely wouldn’t be opposition to Ballmer purchasing the team so long as he agreed to keep the franchise in Los Angeles instead of moving it to Seattle.
If you recall, Ballmer retired as Microsoft’s CEO in February and passed the torch on to Satya Nadella. With a net worth of around $20 billion, Ballmer didn’t need to seek out partners in order to acquire the team.