Larry Ellison Rumors

When Joe Lacob and Peter Guber paid $450 million for the Golden State Warriors in 2010, the sports world was left scratching its head. The first major team purchase for the venture capitalist and Hollywood producer, who outbid billionaire Larry Ellison, then the world’s sixth-richest person, set a record price for an NBA franchise. It was hardly anyone’s idea of a crown jewel. Forbes valued the team at $315 million seven months earlier, No. 18 in the league. The team had been to the playoffs just once in the prior 15 years and had inconsistent attendance at its 44-year-old arena. No one is questioning the deal now. Today the Warriors are valued at $3.5 billion, the third most valuable team in the NBA behind the New York Knicks ($4 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($3.7 billion), a ten-fold appreciation since 2009 that has proven to be the decade’s best team investment in all the major sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and international soccer, on a percentage basis.
There is little doubt, if the franchise were to be put on the market, who would be the early odds-on favorite to buy it. That would be Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation. Ellison has attempted to buy three NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies. And if he bought the Blazers, he would become the richest owner in the NBA, surpassing the Clippers’ Steve Ballmer by about $15 billion. Ellison’s net worth has been estimated at $64.5 billion, which would make him the sixth-richest person in the world. He financed the winning sailboat in the 2010 America’s Cup and actually crewed on that craft. He is also a licensed pilot who owns fighter jets.
Storyline: Portland Trail Blazers Sale?
When Paul Allen bought the team from Larry Weinberg on May 31, 1988, it came as a complete surprise. Nobody had any idea the team was even on the market until Allen showed up for the news conference. There is little doubt, if the franchise were to be put on the market, who would be the early odds-on favorite to buy it. That would be Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation. Ellison has attempted to buy three NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies.
And if he bought the Blazers, he would become the richest owner in the NBA, surpassing the Clippers’ Steve Ballmer by about $15 billion. Ellison’s net worth has been estimated at $64.5 billion, which would make him the sixth-richest person in the world. He financed the winning sailboat in the 2010 America’s Cup and actually crewed on that craft. He is also a licensed pilot who owns fighter jets.
When recently asked about the events of 2010, Larry Ellison’s representation quickly replied, “We will decline comment for this story.” In the aftermath of Lacob buying the team, Joe alleges that Ellison tried to sabotage the process, beseeching Lacob’s investors to pull out. “I know, I talked to investors along the way,” Lacob says. “I wasn’t in those conversations, so I don’t know. But I do know that we had a hard time because we thought we had several investors in the deal who disappeared suddenly.” Big-money minority owners who’d pledged loyalty to Ellison dropped out during that process. They’ve thus lost out on the massive windfall that’s come with this Warriors rise. Back in 2010, $450 million was a record price for a North American sports franchise. Now? No less an expert than David Stern says of the current Warriors, “The team is probably worth something in excess of $2 billion. Substantially in excess of $2 billion, eight years later.”
This illustrates another layer of complication in a team sale process: Is it the commissioner or the seller who holds the cards? Some knowing parties have speculated that Ellison miscalculated and fostered more of a connection with Stern than with Cohan. While, say, Clay Bennett might have benefited from a tight relationship with Stern in his pursuit of the then-Sonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder), every one of these situations is different. Stern, though famously powerful, saw himself as more of a facilitator in this and other proceedings. “I knew that Sal was representing the product, and I knew Joe, and I knew Larry (Ellison) and so I was in touch with them,” Stern said in a phone interview. “I don’t wanna get any further than that.” Stern added his assessment: “Larry could’ve made the purchase, but he didn’t. He skipped a beat and Joe moves right in and took the team away from him.”
Lacob had laid the groundwork with Cohan, though, having met with the notoriously shy absentee owner at AT&T Park years earlier. At the time, Cohan wasn’t selling, but Lacob wanted to make an impression. “So he liked me maybe,” says Lacob, who then muses, “I think that was part of it was that he really didn’t want Larry to get the team, perhaps.” Then Lacob picks up the sale story. “‘OK, what’s the price?’ I asked. He said, ‘$440 million and there will be no deductions for anything you find during the due-diligence process. That’s the price, flat out, has to be it. Second, $20 million, non-refundable under any circumstances.’ Now, that is a risk.” “And so I gave him an answer, instantaneously, and I don’t know where it came from, but it just came out of me: ‘I won’t do that.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ And I heard a silence at the other end of the line.”