Ron Burkle Rumors
Billionaire Ron Burkle is starting an athlete management and sports-related investment company that’ll be led by former Madison Square Garden Co. Chief Executive Officer Hank Ratner. The company, Independent Sports and Entertainment, essentially replaces Relativity Sports, in which Burkle was an investor. The new firm has retained several top agents and their clients from the L.A.-based sports agency, which is closing. ISE begins with more than 300 Major League Baseball, National Football League and National Basketball Association players under management, including baseball’s two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera, basketball’s DeMarcus Cousins and football’s Larry Fitzgerald.
The duration of the process – coupled with the fluidity of the Sacramento group that includes Vivek Ranadive, Mark Mastrov, Paul Jacobs and Mark Friedman that has yet to deliver a formal bid – prompted the Maloofs on Wednesday to leak the ultimatum about today’s deadline. On Thursday, the sources said: • An agreement that keeps the Kings in Sacramento must include reimbursement to Hansen for his $30 million nonrefundable deposit. • Before being completely surprised by the size of the Hansen/Ballmer offer, the Maloofs had rejected overtures from Ron Burkle and Larry Ellison. Ellison would have attempted to relocate the Kings to San Jose.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city’s bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle. Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. The announcement comes a day after Burkle backed out because of a conflict of interest stemming from his ownership stake in Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players’ careers.
Following the announcement of the Seattle deal, they were first to step up publicly in the effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Now a group of local investors is seeing its role change in the capital city’s fight to retain its only major pro franchise. The group of 20-plus local investors assembled by mayor Kevin Johnson back in January is now part of the major bid led by Vivek Ranadivé to purchase the team from the Maloofs. “We are now part of the general partnership,” said real estate executive Phil Oates, one of the investors pledging $1 million each in the effort to buy the Kings. “The percentages still have to be worked out. But we share, on a much smaller level, in their (the major equity investor’s) profits.”
Structural changes to the group intending to purchase and keep the Kings in Sacramento won’t affect the city’s non- binding contract to build a new arena. That according to city manager John Shirey, who spoke to reporters at city hall today following the introduction of Mark Friedman to the prospective ownership team led by Vivek Ranadivé. Shirey says he consulted with city attorney James Sanchez on the matter. According to the city manager, Sanchez explained to him that the term sheet city council approved two weeks ago with a 7-2 vote doesn’t need to be adjusted because “the fundamental issues, all the terms, they don’t change.”
Friedman’s emergence comes one day after Mayor Kevin Johnson revealed that Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle had to reduce his role in the project because of a conflict of interest. Johnson hinted at a press conference Monday that there might be additional changes in the ownership structure. But Friedman said he’s been contemplating jumping into the Kings bid for a while. “I’ve been talking to Vivek (Ranadive) and Mark Mastrov for a couple of months,” Friedman said, referring to the lead investors in the bid for the Kings.