Former Microsoft C.E.O. Steve Ballmer has reached an agreement to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion from the Sterling family trust. The deal, which was made between Ballmer and Shelley Sterling (estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling), will still require the approval of 75% of the NBA’s 30 owners. Lawyers of Donald Sterling also say that the embattled 80-year-old owner, who has been accused of racism, will still need to approve the sale. Ballmer’s bid beat out a $1.6 billion bid put together by a group headed by media moguls David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey.
If the deal does get done, it would be the largest sum ever paid for an NBA team. Steve Ballmer’s net worth is estimated to be at around $20.3 billion. Forbes has valued the Clippers franchise at $575 million. Their current television contract will expire in 2016 and a new deal could mean a possible good return on the billionaire’s investment. The Milwaukee Bucks, a much smaller franchise with a corresponding market, had its sale approved by the league for $550 million.
In 2013 the 58-year-old Ballmer was part of a group that lost a bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings. He and his partners intended to move the franchise to Seattle, where Ballmer currently resides, had their bid been approved.