NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Former Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer is buying the Los Angeles Clippers, CBS News reported Thursday evening.
Ballmer has signed a binding agreement to purchase the team for $2 billion, CBS News reported.
Current owner Don Sterling’s wife, Shelly, signed the agreement on behalf of the Sterling family trust.
Once she got control of her estranged husband’s share of the Clippers, Sterling reportedly vowed to make nice with the NBA and the rest of the sports world and sell the club quickly.
Ballmer, who was the chief executive at the software giant for 14 years, reportedly beat out a bunch of big-name moguls in the Shelly Sterling-orchestrated bidding war. Ballmer’s bid was chosen over a who’s who list that includes Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler bid $1.2 billion, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The sale price blows away the highest previous NBA franchise sale price — the $550 million sale of Milwaukee Bucks earlier this month. The agreed-on price comes in just shy of the North American-record $2.1 billion paid for the Dodgers in 2012, the newspaper reported.
For the sale to the ex-Microsoft CEO to be finalized, it would need to be approved by Donald Sterling, the controlling owner of the Clippers who has been banned by the NBA for life. It would also need to be approved by the other owners, CBSSports reported.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million because of racist comments. The league has charged him with damaging the league and its teams. It said Sterling has engaged in other conduct that has impaired its relationship with fans and merchandising partners.
According to an E-Score poll of 1,100 participants, Donald Sterling is the most hated man in America, the New York Daily News Thursday.
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