The National Basketball Association Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Sacramento Kings to a group led by software billionaire Vivek Ranadive.
The transaction, announced two weeks ago pending league approval, is expected to formally close shortly, the league said today in an e-mailed release without giving a specific date. Ranadive will become the league’s first Indian-born owner when the purchase from the Maloof family is finished.
The group agreed to pay $347 million for a 65 percent stake in the team, according to the Sacramento Bee. The deal includes a plan for a new downtown arena and values the Kings at $535 million, the most expensive sale in league history.
The 55-year-old Ranadive is a native of Mumbai and founder of Tibco Software Inc. (TIBX:US) NBA Commissioner David Stern has spoken about interest in expanding into the world’s second most-populous country, including sponsored events and the possible creation of an NBA-branded league.
Ranadive will sell his minority stake in the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, who were sold in 2010 for $450 million, the previous league record. His group, assembled by Kevin Johnson, Sacramento’s mayor and a former NBA All-Star, includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and former Facebook Inc. (FB:US) executive Chris Kelly.
The Kings made the playoffs 10 times in 28 years in Sacramento, advancing past the Western Conference semifinals once. Attendance has been in the bottom fifth of the league for the last six seasons. This year, the team went 28-54 and drew an average home attendance of 13,749, a league low.
The sale includes a plan to build a $448 million arena downtown in California’s capital city. The Maloofs reached a deal with Sacramento in February 2012 to build an arena, only to have the accord fall through within two months.
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