Why Steve Ballmer's $2 Billion Deal to Buy the L.A. Clippers Took Only a Week

June 4, 2014Article
The Hollywood Reporter

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's $2 billion agreement to buy the Los Angeles Clippers is astonishing not only for the price tag. The deal came together in less than a week -- the corporate-transaction equivalent of an alley-oop with 0.1 seconds left. The Friday before Memorial Day, Bob Baradaran and Pierce O'Donnell, L.A. lawyers representing Clippers owner Donald Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, decided the deal needed to get done quickly. The NBA's board of governors was scheduled to vote June 3 on forcing a sale, and the attorneys wanted to beat a litigious Donald Sterling to the courthouse. Without a prospectus that would take six months to prepare, Baradaran entertained dozens of calls from interested parties during the holiday weekend. He tells THR there were 20 serious bidders, from Oprah Winfrey and David Geffen (partnering with executives of THR parent Guggenheim Partners) to a group out of the Middle East, and all were curious about terms of the team's TV rights deals.

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