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Calfornia investors bid for team to ward off move

Updated: 2013-04-19 08:20
( China Daily)

California investors made a formal offer to purchase the Sacramento Kings basketball team, the NBA said on Wednesday, in the hopes of staving off a competing bid that would move the team to Seattle.

The offer comes shortly after Seattle investors raised their bid to buy the team by $25 million to $550 million last week. The Seattle group hopes to rebrand the team as the SuperSonics to replace a beloved franchise lost to Oklahoma City in 2008.

The prospect of losing the Kings and leaving the California capital without a professional basketball franchise spurred Sacramento's mayor, himself a former NBA player, into action.

In January, a day after the Seattle group announced a binding agreement to buy the team from its current owners, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson pledged to find investors of his own to purchase the club.

Johnson presented his group to local media this week and led a tour of a proposed site for a new stadium for the team, while staff members furiously finished up the paperwork for a formal bid. On Wednesday, NBC spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the offer had been filed on Tuesday night.

The Sacramento investors, who include a number of powerful figures in the state's technology businesses, declined to give details of their bid. Their rivals, led by Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, have offered $550 million.

"We're in it to win it," said Vivek Ranadive, founder of data giant TIBCO Software Inc and the lead investor in the California group, who otherwise declined to discuss his offer. "We feel that we're doing everything that we need to."

The California group is generally viewed as the underdog in the contest, but funding for a new stadium and bolstering investor ranks with more tech magnates have provided hope to local boosters.


(China Daily 04/19/2013 page22)

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