The Memphis Grizzlies will be sold to Ubiquiti Networks Inc. Chief Executive Robert Pera, who won’t move the National Basketball Association team to another city.
Michael Heisley, 75, bought the Grizzlies in 2000, when they played in Vancouver, and moved the franchise to Memphis for the 2001-02 season. Terms of his agreement with the 34-year-old Pera weren’t disclosed in an e-mailed news release.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to build on the work that has made the Memphis Grizzlies a highly competitive NBA team,” Pera said in the statement. “I look forward to getting to know the Memphis community and to continuing the team’s success in Memphis.”
It isn’t the first time that Heisley has committed to sell his majority share of the club. In 2006 he agreed to sell the team to a group headed by former Duke University basketball players Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, who were unable to secure financing before a deadline.
Heisley also held talks with Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US) Chief Executive Larry Ellison, whose desire to move the franchise to California scuttled the negotiations.
Pera would pay about $350 million, ESPN said, citing sources with knowledge of Heisley’s plan. The transaction would require approval from league owners. The Grizzlies had an estimated value of $269 million, 29th among the league’s 30 teams, according to Forbes’ annual franchise valuations.
“In Robert, we have a new owner who has expressed a total commitment to build on our success in Memphis,” Heisley said in the statement.
The Grizzlies lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of this season’s playoffs.
“We’ve put together a team which is poised to continue its improvement,” Heisley said. “We have an outstanding team of players, coaching staff, and basketball and business management.”
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