News :: Sports

Will Out Billionaire David Geffen Buy the Clippers?

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Apr 30, 2014
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David Geffen
David Geffen  (Source:AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne)

According to the Wall Street Journal, out billionaire and entertainment mogul David Geffen may be interested in buying the basketball team.

National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver ruled Tuesday that Clippers owner Donald Sterling is banned from the NBA for life, cannot have any association with the Clippers and will be fined $2.5 million, allowing NBA officials to force Sterling to sell the team.

Sterling, a longtime owner of the team, came under fire this week after TMZ Sports published a recording of Sterling making racist remarks during an argument with his girlfriend.

With the likelihood that the Clippers, currently in the NBA playoffs, will be up for sale in the coming weeks, the number of bidders may be high despite the team’s high price tag: the WSJ estimates the team could be worth upward of $700 million.

"The Clippers, like other NBA franchises, are due to get a windfall from a new national media deal," the WSJ writes. "In addition, the Clippers’ local media-rights deal expires after the 2015-16 season, giving any new owner the opportunity to strike a lucrative, long-term deal at a time when local sports rights have never been more valuable."

The newspaper notes Geffen made a bid for the Clippers a number of years ago but a person "familiar with the matter" tells the WSJ he is still interested.

Geffen, who Forbes estimates is worth $6.2 billion, offered Sterling $600 million for the team about four years ago, according to the sources. They added Geffen hasn’t been in contact with the NBA in for several months, however.

Geffen is one of many who may to put his hat in the ring. Other possible bidders include Ron Burkle, founder of private-equity firm Yucaipa Cos. and the owner of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburg Penguins, and Patrick Soon-Shiong, a doctor and biotech entrepreneur. Guggenheim Partners, the group that bought the Los Angels Dodgers with NBA ledged Magic Johnson, may also express interest in buying the team but a spokesman for the firm declined to comment.

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