Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will reportedly buy the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald and Shelly Sterling for $2 billion.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported Ballmer “won a frenetic bidding war” to buy the team for record-setting price for an NBA team. Only the Dodgers, which sold for $2.1 billion, got a higher price among North American sports teams. Co-owner Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale, and Donald Sterling must still reportedly approve for it to be final. Sterling authorized his wife to sell the team on his behalf before having a change of heart this week, with his lawyer proclaiming that he would fight the NBA to “the bloody end” to keep the team.
Update: According to NBC Sports, “a deal was signed between the Sterling Family Trust and former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer to buy the Clippers for $2 billion. That document is now being sent on to the NBA league office for review (and to start the approval process).”
Other bids reportedly came in at $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion, according to the Times, with a group led by mogul David Geffen placing the $1.6 billion bid.
Ballmer was Microsoft’s chief executive for 14 years and is reportedly worth $20 billion. He was unsuccessful in his bid to buy the Sacramento Kings last year. The Milwaukee Bucks recently sold for $550 million.
News of the prospective sale comes five days before 3/4 of the league’s owners could have potentially voted to force Sterling to sell his team after a recording surfaced in which Sterling told V. Stiviano not to bring “black people” to his games. According to the Times, the NBA’s owners are expected to approve of the sale so long as Ballmer pledges to keep the team in Los Angeles.
Sterling bought the Clippers for an estimated $12.5 million in 1981.