There are rumors that he is not doing well financially and that the sale could be in trouble, but young tech industry wiz kid Robert Pera, 34, is pushing ahead with efforts to buy the Memphis Grizzlies.
And they will stay the Memphis Grizzlies under a new deal with local investors that Pera has reached, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
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.
Pera had said previously he didn’t plan to move the Grizzlies, but these investors will put that deal in writing, not just make it a handshake agreement.
The only hurdle now is getting the NBA to approve Pera as owner. And that may be a high hurdle.
Pera’s company, Ubiquiti Networks Inc., has found itself in hot water because its products were illegally sold into Iran. The other issue is that this and other controversies have dropped the stock price of Ubiquiti, and with it Pera’s worth down to $800 million. Which is a lot, but if you are buying a team for $350 million that’s not as rich as it seems.
The league is still working through the background and other details of the Grizzlies’ sale. But bringing in local investors with this deal is going to help Pera’s cause because he has to pay less and it keeps the Grizzlies in town. Nobody wants to see the team moved to San Jose, or anywhere really.