Is this a whale sighting?
Tony Bizjak at the Bee is reporting that a meeting between Mayor Kevin Johnson and Larry Ellison, head of Oracle and third richest man in the United States, is set to take place by the end of this week. Ellison is valued by Forbes to be worth $41 billion. The meeting was brokered by former Kings' minority owner Bob Cook, whose 7% stake in the team is currently up for auction as part of his bankruptcy.
As for why Cook brokered this meeting?
"It is important the community knows we are making the effort to keep the team in town," Cook said. "Gregg Lukenbill, Joe Benvenuti and I spent years of hard work bringing the team to Sacramento, and we are not going to let it leave Sacramento without a fight."
It's unknown whether this is a new development or whether Ellison is one of the reported five major equity partners the city is looking at with regards to making a competitive offer for the Sacramento Kings. Other reports have seemed to indicate that Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle are the current frontrunners, especially since it appears they're willing to combine forces.
Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area reported a couple days ago that the Maloofs shopped the Kings to Ellison, but that Ellison had said no. If true, I'm not sure what has changed in his interest. It could end up just being the Mayor doing his due diligence. Still, Ellison could be a major player, and simply having him interested is another card in the city's pocket to take to the NBA.
In other news, the Mayor held another press conference today, this time with a variety of regional and state politicians, all who expressed a strong show of support for the NBA and the Sacramento Kings. The Mayor has said in recent days that he hopes to reveal the large equity partner(s) next week.