LOS ANGELES >> An initial round of bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers closed Wednesday with at least three potential buyers making offers and predicting that the winner will pay well more than $1 billion, according to three people involved in the sale.
Team co-owner Shelly Sterling did not release details of the bids for the team her husband, Donald, bought more than three decades ago for $12.5 million.
A group that includes Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh, along with former NBA star Grant Hill, offered $1.2 billion for the Clippers, a representative close to the partners said Wednesday. That bid is more than double the highest price ever paid for an NBA team. The Milwaukee Bucks were sold this month for a record $550 million.
The size of the other offers has not been disclosed and the suitors expect another round of bidding.
The sale, guided by team co-owner Shelly Sterling and Bank of America, comes a little more than a month after racially charged remarks by Donald Sterling angered NBA fans, advertisers and players.
Although Shelly Sterling wants a quick sale, several hurdles remained: selecting a winning bid, gaining the cooperation of her 80-year-old husband, and eventually persuading three-quarters of the NBA’s other owners to sign off on the deal. The first two steps need to occur in the next few days to beat a deadline Tuesday, when NBA owners are scheduled to vote in New York on whether to strip the Sterlings of ownership of the Clippers.
Among the bidders for the team are:
>> The Ressler-Karsh-Hill group, with its $1.2 billion offer.
>> A group that includes principals from Guggenheim Partners, the company that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Guggenheim co-founder Mark Walter and President Todd Boehly are teaming with three billionaires who previously said they would launch a bid for the Clippers: music and movie mogul David Geffen, Oracle software co-founder Larry Ellison and TV personality Oprah Winfrey.
>>Steve Ballmer, who until recently was chief executive of Microsoft.
Los Angeles Times