Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer bids $2 billion to own Los Angeles Clippers; Sterling agrees to sale

Steve Ballmer - Courtesy photo
Steve Ballmer
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Four months after stepping down as Microsoft’s chief executive officer, Steve Ballmer has slam-dunked a $2 billion bid to own the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team.

Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling agreed to the sale on Wednesday.

According to a Los Angeles Times story last week, the winning offer sets a record price for an NBA franchise. Last month, New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wes Edens paid $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ballmer hasn’t yet granted interviews to the media regarding the bid.

After Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella took over in early February, 14-year CEO Ballmer — who is reportedly worth about $20 billion — wrote to employees that he was “pumped for the future of Microsoft,” according to a Redmond Reporter story. Ballmer, 58, may soon be able to apply that statement to the Clippers, who finished up the playoffs with a 104-98 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 15. In their opening playoff series, the Clippers dispatched of Golden State, 4-3, before losing to the Thunder in their following series, 4-2.

Other Clippers bidders included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to the Times article.

Ballmer, who was part of a group to bid on the Sacramento Kings and relocate the team to his home in Seattle, says he will keep the Clippers in Los Angeles, the Times article stated.

In a statement, Ballmer said he hopes the Clippers will “continue to win — and win big — in Los Angeles.”

In April, the NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million after recordings of him making racist comments were made public. He also dropped a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA regarding the incident on Wednesday.

King County Executive Dow Constantine weighed in on Ballmer’s agreement for purchase of the Clippers:

“Congratulations to Steve Ballmer on his successful bid for the Los Angeles Clippers,” his statement begins.

“Here in King County, the resolute work by investor Chris Hansen to build an arena started well before Mr. Ballmer was involved, and it will continue after. We will keep working to bring back our Sonics and bring the excitement of NHL hockey to our region.”


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