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Report: Hansen-Ballmer Group Considering Increasing Bid for Kings (UPDATE)

The Bee's Tony Bizjak reports that the Hansen-Ballmer is contemplating increasing their bid for the Sacramento Kings by $25 million after the Sacramento group led by Vivek Ranadivé indicated they would match Seattle's offer. Chris Hansen later confirms he has increased the bid.

All along, David Stern has said that he doesn't see the fight for the Sacramento Kings becoming a bidding war.

However, that's not stopping the Hansen-Ballmer group from attempting to turn it into one. The Bee's Tony Bizjak reports that the Hansen-Ballmer group is seriously considering raising their bid for the Kings by $25 million. That would push the Franchise Valuation to $550 million and the total actual sale amount to $366 million. The reason for considering the increase is likely due to numerous reports indicating that Sacramento has told the NBA they will match Seattle's original offer.

Seattle's Chris Daniels confirmed Bizjak's report but added this:

It's unclear whether the NBA would allow such an increase to occur. In yesterday's piece for USA Today, before news of a possible increase was known, Sam Amick wrote:

The NBA is not expected to allow the situation to evolve into a bidding war should the Seattle side attempt to simply up its binding bid.

We'll see how much the NBA is willing to stick to their guns in the face of a possible $25 million or more increase on an already historic franchise valuation.

UPDATE 9:09 P.M.

Report from Ian Thomsen seems to indicate that Seattle HAS increased their bid by $25 million.

Again, it's unclear if this will be allowed by the NBA. Aaron Bruski tweeted this earlier, which backs up what Amick reported yesterday.

We will update with more information as it comes in.

UPDATE 9:15 P.M.

Chris Hansen has released a statement on his website confirming Thomsen's report:

We would like to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Maloofs to raise the price we are offering to purchase the controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise by $25 million - from an enterprise value of $525 million to an enterprise value of $550 million.

While we already have a binding purchase agreement to purchase the controlling interest in the team, the Seattle Ownership Group has elected to voluntarily raise its purchase price as a sign of our commitment to bring basketball back to our City and our high degree of confidence in our Arena plan, our financing plan, the economic strength of the Seattle market, individual and corporate support for the team and, most importantly, the future of the NBA.

Judging by this statement, it seems clear that Hansen isn't cutting the Maloofs a check for an extra $25 million, but rather increasing the valuation by $25 million. That would increase the total actual bid to $357.5 million, an increase of $16.25 million. Both the NBA and the Sacramento group have yet to respond to this latest news.

UPDATE 10:23 P.M.

The Seattle Times Bob Condotta confirms that the increase is more like $16.25 million in actual cash to the Maloofs, not $25 million (that's Franchise Valuation increase, just like it says in Hansen's statement).

UPDATE 10:31 P.M.

The Mayor tweets a statement:

Sacramento is playing to win, including having assembled a world class ownership group; voting to move forward on an arena and securing significant fan and corporate support.

We know the NBA has never moved a team from a market that has performed and where a clear path to an arena has been demonstrated, which is why as we head into the meetings in New York City next week we are following the process established by the NBA.

That said, we of course are prepared to maintain the full court press we have applied over the last several months to make sure we leave it all on the court. For all of these reasons, we feel good about where we stand.

UPDATE 11:16 P.M.

From Aaron Bruski and Nick Monacelli: