Share

BC-BKN--Kings Sale,1st Ld-Writethru, BKN

|
Sports,NBA

The sale of the Sacramento Kings is finally complete.

The Maloof family announced Friday that the agreement to sell the Kings and Sleep Train Arena to a group led by TIBCO Software chairman Vivek Ranadive is done. Ranadive's group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the team at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million, topping the NBA record of $450 million that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Golden State Warriors for in 2010.

Brothers George, Joe and Gavin Maloof released statements thanking the NBA, Commissioner David Stern and the family's limited partners with the Kings. George Maloof specifically praised Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the City Council "for their efforts and loyalty to the Sacramento community."

After owners blocked the Maloofs' agreement with investor Chris Hansen to buy and relocate the Kings to Seattle in early May at a total franchise valuation of $625 million, the family pushed ahead with the "backup offer" to sell the team to Ranadive's group. Under NBA rules, Ranadive will have to sell his minority stake in the Warriors.

The Sacramento group also includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, former Facebook senior executive Chris Kelly and the Jacobs family that owns communications giant Qualcomm.

"We congratulate Vivek Ranadive and the entire Sacramento investor group for their willingness to come forward and purchase the franchise for the people of Sacramento. We are confident they will provide the stewardship necessary to continue to guide the organization to successful levels," George Maloof said in a statement.

The sale officially ends the family's 14-year reign as majority owners of the team.

The Kings reached the playoffs seven times under the Maloofs, including back-to-back Pacific Division titles in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, and advanced to the 2002 Western Conference finals, when they lost in heartbreaking fashion to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.

After that, the franchise started a slow and painful decline.

The Maloofs, once the toast of California's capital city, fell out of favor with fans. The arena aged rapidly. Ticket sales declined. And the family explored moving the franchise to Las Vegas, Anaheim and Virginia Beach over several years until announcing an agreement with the Seattle group led by Hansen in January.

Led by Johnson, Sacramento fought back and made it too difficult for NBA owners to allow the Kings to move to Seattle. The mayor, a former NBA All-Star guard, got the Sacramento City Council to approve a non-binding financing plan for a $447 million facility with a $258 million public subsidy.

The Maloofs still had to agree to sell the franchise to Ranadive's group. And in the end, they did after raising the value of the franchise to a record price.

"The success of the Sacramento Kings has been due largely in part to the dedication and enthusiasm of our team members, coaches, players, and fans," Joe Maloof said. "Since our family has owned the franchise, the people of Sacramento have warmly brought the Kings into their hearts and for that we will always be grateful. As we look forward to an exciting new chapter in our family business enterprise, we will never forget the people of Sacramento and everything they have done for the Kings organization."

___

Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

View article comments Leave a comment