New potential owner emerges for Kings
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
With uncertainty looming about whether the Sacramento-based group attempting to buy the Kings would be able to bridge the gap between its offer and that of the Seattle group that has an agreement in place, a key new figure has emerged.
Vivek Ranadive, founder of the $4 billion software company, Tibco, and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, has agreed to take a lead role in the group that was previously led by 24-Hour Fitness founder, Mark Mastrov, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the agreement had not yet been announced.
Ranadive, an India native built Tibco into a $4 billion business in the San Francisco Bay Area and was behind the “Bollywood” night at Warriors games in recent years that led to NBA games being televised in his home country for the first time.
Mastrov and supermarket mogul/part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins Ron Burkle are still major players in both the bid for the team and the downtown arena effort that was expected to be revealed by way of a term sheet on Thursday, but Ranadive agreed to take part recently after pushing for a more significant say in personnel matters. The Seattle group headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has agreed to buy 65% of the team from the Maloofs for a valuation of $525 million, and NBA Commissioner David Stern said recently that the initial Sacramento bid – placed with Mastrov as the lead man – was significantly short of where it needed to be for Sacramento to keep its team.
In order to be able to buy the Kings, Ranadive would have to sell his interest in the Warriors.
This isn’t the only Sacramento-based bid to buy the team, as Kings minority owner John Kehriotis has been planning his bid as well. But the Ranadive-Mastrov-Burkle group is working in coordination with Sacramento mayor and former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson, who will attempt to convince NBA owners at an April 3 meeting in New York that … [For more on New potential owner emerges for Sacramento Kings, click here.]