Guggenheim, Geffen Group Plan Joint Bid for NBA's Clippers

Wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA for racist remarks, is negotiating with the league to sell the club.

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Donald Sterling, his wife Shelly attend an NBA game in Los Angeles. December 22, 2008.
Donald Sterling, his wife Shelly attend an NBA game in Los Angeles. December 22, 2008.Credit: Reuters

Investment bank Guggenheim Partners and a group headed by billionaire David Geffen plan to submit a joint bid for the Los Angeles Clippers pro-basketball team, according to a person with knowledge of the bidding process.

Geffen's group includes television icon Oprah Winfrey and Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison. In 2012, Guggenheim headed a group that included basketball great Magic Johnson and bought the LA Dodgers baseball team for $2.15 billion. Johnson is a part of Geffen's group as well.

Bids are due on Thursday, according to the person. A decision could be made by the end of the week.

Among the other bidders are former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and billionaire Anthony Ressler. Ressler met with Clipper co-owner Shelly Sterling at a Malibu restaurant last weekend to discuss a potential bid, according to the person.

A spokesman for Guggenheim did not respond to a request for comment. Representatives for Ballmer and Ressler could not be reached immediately.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling, banned from the NBA for racist remarks, handed controlling interest in his team to his wife Shelly Sterling, the co-owner, and she began negotiating with the league to sell the club, Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources.

She also retained Bank of America as investment bankers. John Yiannacopoulos, a spokesman for Bank of America, had no comment.

The NBA has scheduled a hearing for June 3, when Donald Sterling can address the charges to his fellow owners. The league could vote to terminate his ownership of the franchise, which would take a vote by 23 of the other 29 owners, the NBA said in a May 19 press release.

The family is said to want $1.5 billion for the team. Donald Sterling, controlling owner of the Clippers for 33 years, came under fire when posted an audio recording of him criticizing a female friend for publicly associating with black people, including "Magic" Johnson.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week he would prefer to let the Sterlings sell the team "on a reasonable timetable" rather than proceed with trying to forcibly terminate their ownership.



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