Sacramento Kings minority owner Bob Cook said he expects to meet with other team minority owners next week over next steps for keeping the Kings in town.
Based on the minority partners’ ownership documents, Cook is confident that the group has a right of first refusal to have the first option to buy the team from the Maloof family members, the Kings’ majority owners who have a deal to sell to Seattle investors.
“This is a huge point,” Cook told me today. “I’ve sent my documents to my attorney for review.”
Cook, who helped bring the Kings to town in the 1980s, said he anticipates meeting next week with his fellow minority owners: developer John Kehriotis, the family of the late Joe Benvenuti and Dave Lucchetti, CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products Inc.in Sacramento.
Cook said he met with Sacramento MayorKevin Johnson on Thursday.
So would the minority partners work with whichever big equity investor or investors that the mayor could bring in to buy the Kings? “I’d say there’s an excellent probability that we would,” Cook said.
The potential so-called “whale” investors are supermarket magnate Ron Burkle of Southern California, Bay Area entrepreneur/24 Hour Fitness founderMark Mastrov and billionaire software executive Larry Ellison. Cook asked his sports attorney friend in San Francisco to arrange a meeting between Ellison and Johnson. That attorney, Cook said, is “working on it.”
Cook said those are the only potential big equity investors of which he’s aware.
“The important thing is there’s serious interest,” Cook said. “I think the odds are really good that the Kings are going to stay.”
Cook guesses that the name or names of the big equity investors would be announced a week from today or a couple days later.
Cook is still a minority Kings owner while the future of his 7-percent share gets sorted out in bankruptcy proceedings.
The latest we've heard from the mayor was Thursday when he and state, regional and local leaders said they’re continuing to make progress. Earlier this week Johnson announced that 21 local investors are ready to chip in $1 million each to help buy the Kings and keep the team in town.
The Kings drama began in earnest on Monday when the Maloof family, which owns 65 percent of the team, and an investor group headed by Seattle hedge-fund guru Chris Hansen and Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer said they had reached a binding deal.
The deal set a reported value of $525 million on the team, putting the sale price at about $341 million. The team would move next season, playing temporarily in KeyArena — the former home of the Seattle SuperSonics, which left for Oklahoma City in 2008.
The departure of the Kings would make Sacramento the second-largest metropolitan area in the nation with no major-league sports franchise. The largest is the Riverside-San Bernardino area, which is part of the Los Angeles media market.
The sale and relocation of the team still requires approval by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors. And opponents of a plan to build a new arena for the Kings — to be renamed the SuperSonics — have filed a pair of suits to stop it.
If this is true (assuming it is since the guy said it himself, this is BIG NEWS!!!