Seattle’s Hansen ups bid to buy Kings
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Just one day after USA TODAY Sports revealed that the Sacramento group trying to keep the Kings had informed the NBA it would fully match Seattle’s bid before the matter was debated at the NBA Board of Governors meetings on April 18-19, the lead investor, hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, announced on Friday night that he had upped his purchase price for the team.
In a statement on his web site, www.sonicsarena.com, Hansen said the previous agreement with the Maloof family that owns the team to buy 65% of the team at a valuation of a league-record $525 million would be increased to a valuation of $550 million. The actual increase of his added contribution, based on the share being bought, would be $16.5 million.
While it remains to be seen how the NBA views this move, the Sacramento group being headed by mayor Kevin Johnson and lead investor Vivek Ranadive has been operating with the understanding that the league would not allow the situation to evolve into a bidding war. It’s unclear how the league could keep that from happening, however, not only because of the anti-trust lawsuits that could come into play but because owners around the league would almost certainly be in favor or additional value being brought into their high-priced club.
If a bidding war does indeed ensue, then Seattle would be in phenomenal standing considering the deep pockets of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. According to Forbes, Ballmer’s net worth is $15.2 billion.
The Sacramento group has added significant wealth to its investment team in recent weeks as well. Ranadive, the Golden State Warriors minority owner and founder of the $4 billion software company, TIBCO, had everything to do with the Sacramento group deciding to match the deal after he first emerged into the situation publicly on March 21. Before Ranadive took the lead role, 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov was the lead investor. Since then, the group has also added the Jacobs family that founded the Fortune 500 company, Qualcomm, Sacramento developer Mark Friedman and former Facebook executive Chris Kelly.