Prospective buyers want Grizzlies in Memphis
By Adi Joseph, USA TODAY
Robert Pera has been working on a deal to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies from Michael Heisley‘s group. Pera’s latest plans include a city-based ownership group and a deal that would keep the team in place for at least 15 years, according to The Commercial Appeal of Memphis.
From the newspaper:
Pera has agreed to three provisions: 1) a $100 million penalty if the team is moved, 2) a right of first refusal under which the local owners will be able to match any offer Pera receives to sell the team and 3) the right for the locals to buy the team from Pera at the current price if he wants to move it. All provisions are in effect for the next 15 years.
Pera, 34, runs Ubiquiti Networks, a wireless network firm. He’s working with city businessmen including AutoZone founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde and Southeastern Asset Management President Staley Cates, both members of the team’s current ownership group, as well as several new members. The local group would own 30% to 35% of the team, The Commercial Appeal reported.
The Grizzlies sank to the bottom of the standings and attendance rankings as they overhauled their roster in the mid-2000s, but a recent resurgence has put the team in the playoffs for consecutive seasons. The Grizzlies finished last in the 30-team NBA in attendance in 2008-09 but were 17th this year.