HoopsHype Michael Heisley rumors

June 24, 2012 Updates

It was 2005, and the Grizzlies were ending their second consecutive trip to the NBA playoffs. The scrappy electrical engineer, then 27 and renting a tiny apartment, left Apple to launch a lean little electronics firm. His timing was perfect -- precisely when villagers in Paraguay, urban dwellers in Mumbai and the new industrial hordes of Shenzhen were craving cheap and reliable wireless Internet access. From that tired office on a street dotted with bail bondsmen, Pera birthed a money machine. Ubiquiti Networks Inc., which has since moved into a tony San Jose office park across the parking lot from electronics giant Toshiba, designs inexpensive gear for wirelessly accessing the Internet. Sales neared $200 million last year, when the company went public and Pera's shares put his net worth near $1 billion. Earlier this year, the young basketball enthusiast sought out Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley. On June 11, he entered into a purchasing agreement to buy the team. The NBA is evaluating whether to approve the sale, a process that should be complete by the end of the summer. Memphis Commercial Appeal

June 21, 2012 Updates

A group of local businessmen has always wanted to buy the franchise. Before the Grizzlies arrived in Memphis, they were called the pursuit team. When it became obvious toward the end of last year that Michael Heisley was even more determined than usual to sell the Grizzlies, the group reconvened, hired investment bankers and resumed negotiating. Heisley and his lawyer, Stan Meadows, aren't big on negotiating. So they found Pera, who met their price. When they offered the locals the chance to match that price, the locals were skeptical. The last buyer Heisley dug up was Laettner. Why match the price of a phantom? So Heisley accepted Pera's deal. And Pera is no phantom. He's a real guy, with real guys on his board. In that way, the locals miscalculated. Memphis Commercial Appeal

Yes, there's a chance the bid could collapse. Pera isn't Laettner, but neither is he Heisley or Larry Ellison. The NBA scrutinizes potential owners very closely. It may well conclude that Pera is not suitable. But that's not the outcome most experts seem to expect and, in any case, the process will take weeks if not months. So cool your jets, people. Pera paid Heisley $10 million for the right to buy the Grizzlies. He's not going to walk away from that easily. Memphis Commercial Appeal

June 20, 2012 Updates
June 18, 2012 Updates

The NBA's vetting of Robert Pera has just begun and his bid to buy the Grizzlies is not in serious trouble despite a published report. Speculation to the contrary is false, according to a league source close to the process and who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The viability of Pera's bid won't be determined by the league for at least another six to eight weeks, the source said. Memphis Commercial Appeal

June 17, 2012 Updates

The Memphis Grizzlies’ sale to Robert J. Pera, announced this past week, is already in serious trouble, according to league sources. Pera owns Ubiquiti Networks, a Silicon Valley communications technology company. When its stock bottomed out in the last two weeks, his net worth plummeted from $1 billion to $200 million, according to league insiders who say that unless he has some wealthy partners lined up to help him finance the sale, it will likely fall through. In that case, the Grizzlies will continue to be owned by Michael Heisley. Pera agreed to buy the team for $350 million, a figure that raised many eyebrows around the league. New York Daily News

June 13, 2012 Updates

Though Pera signed an ownership agreement Monday afternoon, the sale from current Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley won't be official until three-quarters of that board votes "yes" on the deal. The NBA will begin its vetting of Pera upon receipt of a formal application for ownership. When the vetting process is over, the board will vote on whether to approve the sale. There is no timeframe for the approval to come, though the hope of those familiar with the sale is by the end of the summer. Memphis Commercial Appeal

June 11, 2012 Updates

Heisley had had discussions last year with billionaire Larry Ellison, who has been looking to buy an NBA team. But the discussions stalled when Ellison made clear his desire to move the Grizzlies to California. "We were not interested in getting involved in a relocation discussion," Heisley said Monday. "Mr. Ellison chose to go to the paper in San Jose, or one of his people did, which really did not please me too much." NBA.com

The only way that the lease, which runs through 2021, can be broken is if the Grizzlies fail to meet certain benchmarks in either attendance, suite sales or club seat sales at the arena. If the Grizzlies fall short, according to a source with knowledge of the terms of the lease, Heisley could sell the team, but the city would have the right of first refusal to match the sale price. If the city didn't match, the new owner would be free to leave if he paid the buyout terms in full. NBA.com

Michael E. Heisley, the majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, announced today an agreement for the sale of the franchise to an entity owned by Robert J. Pera. Robert J. Pera is the founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, a publicly-traded next-generation communications technology company. The sale transaction is subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, antitrust clearance and other conditions. The Grizzlies were purchased by Mr. Heisley in 2000 when the team was located in Vancouver, Canada. In 2001, the Grizzlies were relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, and in 2004 moved into FedExForum, a state-of-the art NBA arena built by the City of Memphis and Shelby County. Since moving to Memphis, the team has participated in the NBA playoffs for five seasons, including the two most successful campaigns in franchise history, in 2010-11 and 2011-12. NBA.com

Heisley said a contract was signed with billionaire Robert J. Pera. He said it was not discussed whether Pera ever might move the team, but that Grizzlies have an ironclad contract to remain in Memphis until at least 2021. “I have stepped aside from my companies,’’ Heisley, who has been looking to sell the team before, said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida about why he’s selling now. “I’m 75 years of age. I had a couple of medical problems this year (with his heart). I thought the team was in good shape. Fan base was in good shape. I thought if the opportunity presented itself, I would sell the team.’’ FOXSports Florida

ESPN.com, which first reported the team would be sold to Pera, put the sales price in the range of $350 million. Heisley, who will give up 100 percent of ownership, said that figure is “in the ballpark.’’ “I will say it’s in the 3-something,’’ said Heisley, referring to $300 million. FOXSports Florida

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