With several suitors now circling, just how much might the Los Angeles Clippers sell for?
According to NBC, potentially more than $2 billion — an amount that would set a new record in American sports.
— Robert Kovacik (@RobertNBCLA) May 27, 2014
The Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion in March 2012, though the Los Angeles baseball team has a far more storied history than the Clippers. That purchase nearly doubled the previous top price tag for a U.S. sports franchise: the Miami Dolphins selling for $1.1 billion in 2009.
ESPN’s Bill Simmons also reported on Monday that the “basement” offer for the Clippers will start at around $1.8 billion.
According to ESPN and TMZ, potential bidders include: Steve Ballmer, a former Microsoft CEO who met with Shelly Sterling this past weekend; Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners, responsible for the Dodgers purchase two years ago; a group led by former NBA All-Star Grant Hill, who retired as a Clipper in 2013; Patrick Soon-Shiong, the wealthiest person in Los Angeles and a minority Lakers owner; a group helmed by David Geffen, Larry Ellison and Oprah Winfrey; television host Larry King.
Shelly Sterling is attempting to sell the franchise before the NBA forces her and husband Donald Sterling out. Charged with trying to negotiate a sale, Shelly hired Bank of America to assist with the sale, Bloomberg first reported on Tuesday.
Intent on ensuring that the Sterlings sell 100 percent of the franchise, the league said last week that it intends to proceed with a June 3 that could end with the removal of Donald Sterling. It is also awaiting a response to its charges by 9 p.m. PT on Tuesday. Failure to do that on Sterling’s part would be yet another violation of the NBA constitution.