Owners Rumors

When Robert Pera bought the team from Mike Heisley in October of 2012, he agreed to a buy-sell arrangement with two minority owners, Steve Kaplan and Daniel Straus, under which either of those minority owners could submit a bid to buy out Pera’s interest. Pera would then have to either accept the bid and sell the team, or buy out the minority owners’s interest at the bid price. So, for example, Kaplan could offer to buy the Grizzlies at the price of $1 billion, and Pera would either have to sell his 25-percent share of the team for 25 percent of $1 billion, or he’d have to buy out Kaplan’s 14-percent share of the team for 14 percent of $1 billion. That buy-sell arrangement — which was suggested by former NBA commissioner David Stern, as a safeguard in case the Kaplan and/or Straus didn’t like being minority owners with Pera — kicks in “after five years, and every three years thereafter.” Pera bought the team in October of 2012, which is why it’s coming up now.
Q: Why do you even bring that up? Is there a danger that the team could leave Memphis? A: Not any time soon, no, and the periodic bursts of hysteria around this topic suggest that people don’t understand the considerable protections the city has in place. But unless a small-market NBA team is owned by dedicated local ownership, there is always a danger that the team could move away someday. The Los Angeles Clippers sold for $2 billion. The Houston Rockets sold for $2.2 billion. Seattle wants — and will almost certainly get — another NBA team and has an agreement in place to build a new arena by 2020. A lot has changed since Pera bought the Grizzlies from Heisley for $377 million.