Reports: Maloofs reach agreement to sell Kings to Sacramento group
The Maloof family has reached an agreement to sell their controlling interest in the Kings to a Sacramento-based investment group led by TIBCO chairman Vivek Ranadive, according to multiple reports.
The Sacramento Bee reports the agreement is based on a valuation of $535 million.
A Sacramento investors group has reached a deal with the Maloof family to buy the Kings for an NBA record valuation of $535 million, a source has told The Sacramento Bee. The agreement, reached today, is expected to be announced sometime Friday.
The valuation is up slightly from the $525 million valuation used in the original sale agreement reached between the Maloofs and an investment group led by Valiant Capital's Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer back in January. The Hansen/Ballmer group, which intended to purchase the Kings and relocate the team to Seattle, offered to increase its bid to as much as $625 million last week.
Forbes valued the Kings franchise at $300 million as recently as January 2012. The Kings franchise moved to Sacramento from Kansas City in 1985 and the Maloof family took majority control in 1999.
The agreement comes one day after NBA commissioner David Stern told reporters in Dallas that the league's Board of Governors had voted 22-8 to reject the bid to relocate the franchise to Seattle. Stern also said that the league would begin working with the Maloofs and Ranadive in hopes of reaching a deal that would keep the franchise in Sacramento.
“We will talk to the Maloofs and see in the next 24 to 48 hours to see if we can help facilitate an agreement to be signed between the Ranadive group and the Maloofs for the sale of the franchise in Sacramento,” Stern said. “The [relocation] committee recommended to the board and it was adopted that if the Sacramento community could produce a site, a construction team, a financially strong ownership group and the kind of support by the city and the region that [Sacramento Mayor Kevin] Johnson has galvanized that the appropriate outcome was to keep the team in Sacramento and that’s what they did.
"I anticipate that they will come to be open [to a deal] and I plan to visit with them and close, hopefully, on that anticipation," he said. "The Maloofs have the right to retain ownership of the franchise. ... It's my expectation that we will be able to make a deal... to transfer the title of the team in Sacramento."
George Maloof, who had previously expressed a strong preference to sell the Kings to the Seattle group on multiple occasions, addressed reporters in Dallas after the meeting's conclusion.
"If it had to turn out this way, it's fine with us," he said, according to NBA.com. "But my loyalty's to Chris, because he stepped up. ... The Mayor did a great job. He put a great team together. We'll see what happens. It's not over."
The NBA announced a purchase and sale agreement between the Maloofs and the Seattle group back in January. That deal involved a purchase of 65 percent of the team at an overall franchise valuation of $525 million. The group later filed the requisite paperwork to relocate the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, where the organization would have taken on the “SuperSonics” moniker, and then upped its offer based on a $550 million valuation. The original SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder in 2008.
Earlier this week, in anticipation of the Board's vote, Hansen announced on SonicsArena.com that he was "voluntarily increasing our proposed purchase price" for the Kings to reflect a franchise valuation of $625 million. ESPN.com then reported that the Maloofs had reached a "back-up deal" that would have allowed Hansen and company to purchase 20 percent of the Kings for $125 million in the event that the Board voted against their relocation bid. Such a deal would theoretically hamstring a Sacramento group's efforts to purchase the franchise. Johnson and a number of investors — including Ranadive, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, billionaire Ron Burkle, and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs — have worked diligently to keep the Kings where they are, preparing a competing offer for the Kings and agreeing to terms on a new Downtown Plaza arena deal. Kings fans organized “Here We Buy” nights to show their support for keeping Sacramento’s only major professional sports franchise in town. The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this month that Ranadive, a minority owner of the Warriors, put 50 percent of the Sacramento group's bid for the Kings into escrow.