Updated Mar 22, 2013 - 7:42 am
Billionaire software developer joins Sacramento effort to boost Kings bid
By Josh Kerns
A billionaire software developer has joined the wealthy investors seeking to buy the Sacramento Kings and keep them in California, strengthening the bid to mount a successful challenge to Chris Hansen's effort to move the NBA team to Seattle.
Vivek Ranadive, chairman and chief executive of TIBCO Software, a $1 billion-a-year Silicon Valley company, has reportedly been in talks with 24 Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov for months, the Sacramento Bee reported. Mastrov, the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Billionaire Ron Burkle are leading the effort to purchase the Kings.
Ranadive confirmed his participation Thursday afternoon on Twitter. "Excited to be a part of the revitalization of a great community and the globalization of an amazing franchise. #HereWeStay," he wrote.
The announcement came on the same day Sacramento city officials were working to finalize the terms of a deal with Burkle and Mastrov to build a new downtown arena.
Ranadive's bankroll signals Sacramento is poised to increase its counteroffer for the Kings. After submitting a proposal several weeks ago, NBA Commissioner David Stern called the bid too low, far less than the $341 million Hansen reportedly agreed to pay the Maloof family for the Kings.
"Vivek takes an already strong ownership group to the next level," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in a statement.
Both the Sacramento and Seattle groups will make their case to the NBA's Board of Governors at a special meeting in New York on April 3. The owners are scheduled to vote later in April on whether to approve the sale of the Kings to Hansen or negate the deal and allow the Sacramento group to buy them instead.
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