Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hey, Ya'll, It's Basketball

The Golden State Warriors sale is going forward full-speed with a dozen bidders competing for the Bay Area's beloved yet benighted pro basketball team. Larry Ellison would seem to have the inside track thanks to $$ and enthusiasm, but there are other credible bidders out there as well: Tip-Off Time For Warriors Bidding Frenzy

With a dozen bidders - including billionaire Larry Ellison - signaling interest in the Golden State Warriors, the team could fetch owner Chris Cohan more than $400 million, according to those close to the sale negotiations.

In addition to the Man from Oracle, Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness, based in San Ramon, has also expressed interest. Mastrov tells us he might eventually even bring some of his sports pals like Lance Armstrong, Shaquille O'Neal and Magic Johnson into the deal.

A group of Silicon Valley investors that includes Riverwood Capital executive Michael Marks and Silver Lake equity co-founder Jim Davidson - which bought a 20 percent stake in the Warriors when Cohan ran into tax troubles - is expected to be in the hunt as well. Neither Marks nor Davidson returned our calls seeking comment.

Another basketball-loving Silicon Valley exec, who asked that we not publish his name, has also been privately mentioned as a possible suitor.

The linked article also notes that present owner Chris Cohan is facing increases in the capital gains tax next year and the year after, so the clock is ticking. Chris Cohan forced to sell the Warriors because of increasing taxes? Now that's some Hope and Change I can get behind!

A lot of people are hoping that a sale will not only help the team improve, but will also provide the impetus for the team to move back to San Francisco, where it was based the last time it won a championship. Much as I would love that, it would be the final insult to the team's East Bay fan base, which has stuck with the team through thin and thick. Anyway, Oracle Arena isn't that far away that SF fans have to face insurmountable obstacles to attend a home game. Of course, if Larry Ellison is willing to shell out some Jerry Jones bucks to build a state-of-the-art arena, all bets are off.

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