Mike Ilitch Rumors
Two days after The Detroit News reported at least one new potential bidder is interested in buying the Pistons, Mike Ozanian said in his blog at Forbes.com on Monday a previous bidder, Mike Ilitch, is back in the fray. Ozanian said Ilitch is hoping to spend $360 million — the same amount he bid last year.
Wednesday morning, Tom Wilson said the Ilitch family is still interested in purchasing the Detroit Pistons and Palace Entertainment. Wilson says the Ilitches are still in a legal non-disclosure period in their effort to complete a deal. Wilson made the comments at Wednesday morning’s reveal of renovations of Cobo Center in downtown Detroit.
Davidson rarely made demands. He gave constructive criticism. He simply wanted to know what was going on. And seeing the owner just about every day energized the staff. When Davidson died, some of the brain trust that made the Pistons the talk of the sports marketing world began to leave, including many to rival Mike Ilitch and Olympia Entertainment. Ilitch still remains as a potential buyer of the team. “When Mr. Davidson died, it put so many things out of place at The Palace,” former Pistons coach Ray Scott said. “People began to leave that made the organization. Much of that brain power was lost. That staff was lost. Now you have Joe sitting there, who wants to pull some deals, who cannot until the pending sale is complete.”
Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch apparently looked at the Pistons’ books and ancillary properties and decided they weren’t worth the $425 million that the team’s present owners are seeking. Some league officials think the Pistons will fetch around $310 million.
According to one person familiar with the negotiations, after agreeing to a price in excess of $400 million (my source was not more specific), Ilitch discovered the revenues presented in the prospectus were inflated. Ilitch, one of the great gentleman owners in sports, got pissed, lowered his offer price and the deal quickly blew up. I hope to find out more about the actual price in the near future.
Mike Ilitch is staying quiet about his quest to buy the Detroit Pistons. Ilitch declined comment when asked for an update on the sale and his wife, Marian, said “mum’s the word,” before their Detroit Red Wings played the San Jose Sharks on Monday night. Mike Ilitch also owns the Detroit Tigers.
Sources familiar with the situation say that Gores may be open to being part of a deal led by the Ilitches, who cite a confidentiality agreement in not talking to the media about the Pistons negotiations. Gores, a Michigan State University graduate raised in the Flint area, is founder of Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity LLC, one of the largest private equity firms in the country. He was unsuccessful in a bid a last year ago to buy Troy-based auto supplier Delphi Holdings LLC for $3.6 billion.