In a bit of disconcerting news, it appears Seattle's Chris Hansen has circumvented the bidding process on minority owner Bob Cook's 7% share of the team. Cook's shares are being held by a bankruptcy court and bids were expected to come in later this month. News10's Nick Monacelli reports that as of Tuesday, Hansen's $15.1 million offer was the only serious one on the table and that the lawyers have agreed to sell to him pending judge approval, thus preventing the auction process.
If approved, this deal will give Hansen control of 72% of the Kings franchise pending league approval. Hansen already has a sale agreement with the Maloof Family and Bob Hernreich for 65% of the team at a reported franchise valuation of $525 million. Hansen did not pay the same valuation for Cook's 7%. That would have been about $36.75 million.
At last month's state of the city address, Mayor Kevin Johnson stated a desire for the 20+ local investors who had pledged $1 million to keeping the Kings in Sacramento to bid on Cook's shares.
It's unknown what will happen with regard to the local investors now as there is a no shop clause on the current deal with Hansen.
UPDATE: Monacelli tweets that Mayor Kevin Johnson's local group will submit an offer in the next few days. The no shop clause prevents solicitation of offers, but not their review.
Monacelli also reports that the trustee seeks to have the sale haring on April 15-16th, shortly before the NBA's Board of Governors meeting on April 18th, where a vote to either approve the sale and relocation of the Kings or not will take place. Both Sacramento and Seattle will present their cases to the NBA relocation committee next week on April 3rd.
We will update this with more information as it comes in.
UPDATE 11:57 P.M.:
A chance for John Kehriotis to step up?
Sale gives current limited partners right to match the offer by 15 days.— nickmonacelli (@nickmonacelli) March 27, 2013
UPDATE 1:20 P.M.:
Tony Bizjak of the Bee has provided a link to the actual bankruptcy court documents outlining the sale of the shares to Hansen.
Sean Cunningham provides a statement from Mayor Kevin Johnson on the news:
"In the last week, Sacramento has made tremendous progress towards our goal of building an irrefutable case to the NBA to keep the Sacramento Kings where they belong - in Sacramento.
"As I mentioned at my State of the City address, part of our strategy to keep the Kings is to have local ownership and keep the 7% currently in bankruptcy here in Sacramento. We are not surprised by the news that the Seattle group has made an offer to purchase the 7%.
"We knew this was going to happen and know exactly what our next steps are. We are playing to win."