Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has made an offer of $US1.8 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers, Forbes is reporting.
NBA owners will vote on June 3 to force current Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team after racist comments he made were released to the public.
Though at first Sterling agreed to let his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, sell the team, he seems to have changed his stance, as his lawyer, Max Blecher, told ESPN yesterday that he “is going to fight until the bloody end.” Blecher claims the NBA cannot force the sale because the tapes of Sterling’s comments were obtained illegally.
“Under California law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose, for any proceeding,” Blecher told ESPN.
Still, the high-profile bidding has continued. NBA legends Yao Ming and Magic Johnson are among those rumoured to be interested in the team, as well as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.
Ballmer met with Shelly at her Malibu mansion over the weekend, as initially reported by TMZ and later confirmed by ESPN. Shelly has reportedly received several offers between $US1 billion and $US2 billion, but according to Forbes, the Ballmer offer is very competitive.
Sterling bought the Clippers for $US12.5 million in 1981.
Ballmer retired as CEO of Microsoft in February, and he has a net worth of $US20 billion. He lives in Seattle but has said he would not be interested in moving the team north.
“If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles,” he said to the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive.”
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