NBA approves sale that will keep Kings in Sacramento
Software tycoon is majority owner
The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday to a group led by TIBCO Software chairman Vivek Ranadive.
The league said in a statement that the "transaction is expected to close shortly."
After owners blocked the relocation of the franchise to Seattle earlier this month, the Maloof family reached an agreement to sell a 65 per cent controlling interest in the Kings to Ranadive's group at a total franchise valuation of $535 million US. Ranadive, who will have to sell his minority stake in the Golden State Warriors, becomes the NBA's first Indian-born majority owner.
The Sacramento group also includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, former Facebook senior executive Chris Kelly and the Jacobs family that owns communications giant Qualcomm.
Moments after the league announced the sale was approved, Ranadive thanked owners in a tweet and wrote that it was an honour and a privilege "to be part of such an amazing community." He also updated his Twitter profile to show that he is the owner of the Kings.
The vote, which had been expected since owners blocked the move to Seattle on May 15, officially ended an emotional saga that has dragged on since January. And for those in Sacramento, almost a decade of uncertainty involving the Maloof family, who entertained relocations to Anaheim, Calif., Las Vegas and Virginia Beach in recent years.
No threat of relocation had been more serious than Seattle.
Chris Hansen had a deal with the Maloofs to buy the Kings and rebrand them the SuperSonics, who left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008 and were renamed the Thunder. In a 22-8 vote, the Board of Governors rejected that deal, which would have sold a 65 per cent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of $625 million.
Hansen has vowed to continue his fight to bring the NBA back the Pacific Northwest city.
The next steps for Ranadive will be figuring out the basketball operations and finalizing the deal for a new arena. He already has been busy helping staff sell season tickets and boost sponsorship.
The contract for Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie expires after June 30 and he is not expected to return. Coach Keith Smart is signed through this upcoming season; however, most of his assistants are not.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson — a former NBA All-Star guard — got the City Council to approve a non-binding financing plan for a $447 million facility with a $258 million public subsidy. But that deal is still pending environmental and other reviews.