Kings officially staying in Sacramento as NBA approves local sale
(CNN) — After a prolonged courtship with Seattle, the Sacramento Kings are officially staying put.
About two weeks after rejecting a sales bid that would have had the team moving 750 miles north to Washington state, the NBA board of governors on Tuesday approved the Kings’ sale to a local ownership group helmed by Vivek Ranadive.
The vote was unanimous, the NBA said in a news release, and “the transaction is expected to close shortly.” Terms of the deal were not released.
“Thanks to entire NBA for approving sale of Kings to our organization,” tweeted Ranadive, the founder and CEO of TIBCO Software in Palo Alto, California. “It is an honor & a privilege to be part of such an amazing community.”
The Maloof family — known for ownership of properties in Las Vegas, such as the Palms, among other business ventures — has been trying for months to unload its majority owner stakes in the pro basketball franchise.
The family members have on multiple occasions reached apparent deals to sell the team to a Seattle-based group, including investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, only to be rebuffed by other NBA executives.
In January, these two parties reached a deal for that group to buy the Maloofs’ 53% share of the team as well as minority owner Bob Hernreich’s 12% stake. But the board of governors never signed off.
The Maloof family and Hansen’s group, though, kept on talking, leading to another deal for a higher price and a vote earlier this month by the NBA board.
Public officials in Sacramento, meanwhile, never gave up on their efforts to keep the team.
Led by Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is a former all-star NBA guard, they worked on a stadium plan and collaborated with a group led by Ranadive that was intent on keeping the team in northern California.
On May 15, the 22 members of the league’s board of governors rejected the Kings’ relocation bid, while eight voted in favor. After that vote, Commissioner David Stern cited the existence of a “strong ownership group,” a construction team and a plan for a new arena, plus strong support from officials and residents in the Sacramento area.
Johnson celebrated that day, and again on Tuesday.
Congrats to @Vivek & the new ownership group!” the mayor wrote on Twitter. “NBA’s unanimous vote sends a strong statement of support for the Kings’ bright future in Sac!”