Shelly Sterling agreed to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion on May 29.
ESPN Los Angeles reports Ballmer won the bid for a whopping $2 billion:
"A source close to the situation told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that Sterling and Ballmer signed the final papers of the sale authority before midnight Thursday at the offices of her Los Angeles-based attorneys.
"Sterling announced she was acting under her authority as the sole trustee of the Sterling family trust, which owns the Clippers.
"'I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner,' Sterling said in a statement. 'We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success.
"Ballmer, who previously had been involved in a failed bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle, released a statement saying he was 'honored' by the opportunity.
"Ballmer has said both publicly and privately that he will not relocate the Clippers from Los Angeles.
"'I love basketball,' he said. 'And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win -- and win big -- in Los Angeles. L.A. is one of the world's great cities -- a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness.'
"'I am confident that the Clippers will in the coming years become an even bigger part of the community.'"
"Shelly Sterling became the sole trustee of the Sterling family trust very recently, sources told Shelburne and ESPN's Darren Rovell, when husband Donald Sterling, the Clippers' controlling owner, was found by experts to be mentally incapacitated.
"The rules of the trust did not require a court hearing first to declare Donald Sterling, 80, incapacitated. That allowed Shellly Sterling to negotiate directly with Ballmer and the NBA to sell the team.
"The agreement will be sent straight to the NBA for final approval, sources told Shelburne. It must be approved by the league office, and Ballmer must be approved by three-fourths of the league's owners.
"Donald Sterling's lawyer Max Belcher did not return messages asking for comment on Shelly Sterling's actions. However, earlier in the day, Belcher said in an email to ESPN that his client had not signed off on the sale."
The Los Angeles Times' James Rainey writes about the other potential bidders for the Clippers. He also notes the $2 billion sale price is almost four times the amount of $550 million paid for the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has won a frenetic bidding war for ownership for the Los Angeles Clippers, with a $2 billion offer that would set a record price for an NBA team.
"Ballmer bid higher than competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Bruce Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"The Geffen group offered $1.6 billion and the Ressler-Karsh group $1.2 billion. People familiar with both those offers said they were rejected.
"Ballmer and Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling concluded a deal late Thursday afternoon. But Bobby Samini, an attorney for Donald Sterling, said as he left the team co-owners home: 'There's been no sale. There can be no sale without Donald's signature.'
"The sale price would be almost four times the previous NBA franchise high: the $550 million paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is the second-highest price ever paid for a sports team in North America. The Dodgers sold in 2012 for $2.1 billion."
"Although Ballmer lives in Seattle, fans in the Northwest shouldn't hold out hope for a franchise. The NBA would be unlikely to approve such a move, and Ballmer has said publicly that he would keep the Clippers where they are.
"In fact, it was his insistence on moving the Kings to Seattle that helped sink his bid a year ago. The league source said Ballmer and (Seattle investor Chris) Hansen misjudged how entrenched the Sacramento (Kings) fan base was, adding that then-commissioner David Stern was also 'hell bent' on keeping the franchise there as part of his legacy."
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