BY SPNW Staff 07:59PM 03/21/2013

Sactown wins some, loses some in Kings drama

On the drive to keep the Kings, Sacramento had a bad news/good news day Thursday.

The bad news was the arena portion of the project was set back when City Manager John Shirey failed to meet a self-imposed deadline of Thursday for public disclosure of a term sheet that would have details of the private and public financing.

The good news was that a third major investor was identified that would improve the cash backing for the team purchase. Vivek Ranadive, 55, the India-born chairman and CEO of a $1 billion-a-year Silicon Valley software company. He is also a minority partner and vice chairman of the Golden State Warriors, the team that Mark Mastrov, the Sacramento businessman who would be the lead owner of the Kings, tried to buy in 2010.

The Sacramento Bee first reported both developments.

Shirey said negotiations on the arena deal are continuing with representatives of billionaire Ron Burkle and remains optimistic a deal will be struck. But the disclosure won’t happen in time for a scheduled meeting of the city council Tuesday, because the members would need more time to study the deal.

“I’m still optimistic that we’re going to get the (sticking) points resolved,” Shirey said. “I do not have that feeling that we’re not going to come together.

“The City Council needs to be able to read and study the term sheet (before voting).”

But the NBA has asked for a meeting April 3 with the Sacramento bidders as well as Seattle native Chris Hansen, who already has in hand a sale agreement with the Kings owners to buy 65 percent of the franchise for $341 million, including a $30 million nonrefundable deposit. Hansen has plans for a $490 million arena in SoDo, and has asked the franchise be relocated to KeyArena while the new building goes up.

Partly because Hansen is backed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, NBA Commissioner David Stern warned Sacramento two weeks ago that its effort was well behind the Seattle bid.

If there is no vote Tuesday, the next meeting is April 2, which Shirey said “is not preferable” because it is so close to the NBA meeting in New York.

The Bee reported that a source sold the newspaper that Ranadive had been talking with Mastrov for several months about joining the bid. His company, TIBCO Software, makes programs used in automation, data analysis and e-commerce. Its customers have included Yahoo, Sun Microsystems and CBS Sportsline. He owns eight percent, valued at $318 million.

Ranadive is a Harvard and MIT grad who has written three books on business in the past 14 years, including a New York Times bestseller. His 2011 book, “The Two-Second Advantage,” released in 2011, has a publicity blurb by Stern, who wrote that the book “artfully explores how having the right information . . . can place you ahead of the game.”


  • SadSac

    This guy’s more like blubber than a whale.

    • art thiel

      You know this how?

      • SadSac

        I’m just comparing him to Ballmer and not seeing why it would excite Stern or anyone else to have him vs. the head of Microsoft as an owner.

        • Manny

          Just read between the lines. This guy suddenly appears but no “he’s been a part of the process all along”. No he hasn’t. This reeks of desperation. Hey, I’d be desperate if I was Sacramento too.

          • art thiel

            This has been a desperate situation by definition. Seattle had a two-year heads up when Schultz sold to Bennett and couldn’t pull it off, but this is a bigger deal to Sac than Seattle.

          • Jared S.

            The Kings probably are more important to Sacramento as a one-team town, but there were many years before the near-move to Anaheim of failed attempts to fund an arena there, even with the NBA aiding the efforts (and there were no stadium fatigue issues like there have been here, since the Kings’ current arena was built in the ’80s with private money). Even now they don’t seem to be willing to raise taxes in order to do it.

            One thing they have going for them is that Stern seems more willing to give them a chance to keep the team than he did us. When the Ballmer plan appeared he refused to support it and obviously he aided Bennett in breaking the lease (which Sacramento doesn’t have).

          • jafabian

            This could be the NBA’s last chance to get into the Seattle market though. If it doesn’t happen then the city might not be so accommodating in the future and the NHL could be firmly established here. Even though the NBA claims a 25,000 seat combo NBA/NHL arena is ideal fact of the matter is the NBA and NHL are competing businesses. And with the MLS now firmly entrenched in the Seattle market can the NBA really afford to think they can waltz back into Seattle at any time and fill a 25,000 seat area consistently with their product?

        • art thiel

          He’s already been vetted by the league and and makes Sac’s bid more credible. You don’t have to have $15B to be a good owner.

  • jafabian

    KJ is putting together a good looking investor group though it’s all slapped together. Hard to tell just how solvent their financial backing is for this but on paper it all looks good. I’m wondering if it would help Hansen’s group to bring in a few more investors? Or would that look like panic on his part? I’m still annoyed that the NBA is letting this happen. I wish some outside group would come in to try and move the Kings just to gum things up.

    • art thiel

      More gum? No thanks.
      Hansen doesn’t need more local names for PR purposes. Stern has a man-crush on Ballmer (or his portfolio).
      Never thought the Kings would have trouble rounding up qualified team buyers. It’s the arena plan that’s in bitty pieces that has always been the obstacle.