It’s looking like the Memphis Grizzlies will, in fact, be sold to a group led by Robert Pera. Pera is a self-made billionaire through the tech industry, founding Ubiquiti Networks, Inc., as well as working with Apple. However, in the past couple of weeks, Pera’s financial stability and ability to buy the Grizzlies were put to question as his company’s stock plummeted. It was looking like Pera’s intent to purchase the Grizz was going bye-bye.
Enter local Memphians who have taken up the gauntlet to bolster Pera’s bid to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies from current owner, Michael Heisley. Ironically enough, two of those people are current owners under the Heisley group, J.R. “Pitt” Hyde and Staley Cates. The advantage here is as follows:
Pera has agreed to three provisions: 1) a $100 million penalty if the team is moved, 2) a right of first refusal under which the local owners will be able to match any offer Pera receives to sell the team and 3) the right for the locals to buy the team from Pera at the current price if he wants to move it. All provisions are in effect for the next 15 years.
Basically, the Grizzlies won’t be going anywhere for at least 15 years. This is refreshing news when you consider the small market Memphis is and how owners like the Maloofs and NBA superstars like Dwight Howard want to move to bigger and better markets. Who doesn’t like a story where the underdog overcomes obstacles and excels? Also, the Memphis Grizzlies have a really good team and as a visitor to Memphis, it’s a great little city full of verve and history.
Of course, nothing is official yet as the NBA still has to approve the sale by Heisley and purchase by Pera. This latest news of investment by local businessmen, which will keep the team in Memphis, should make the process a lot smoother.