Karen Davidson inherited the Detroit Pistons when her husband Bill passed away last year. The Pistons were his passion, not hers, she didn’t want to run a team. So she hired Citi Private Bank Sports Advisory to help her sell the Pistons and the Palace.
They found a buyer in Michael Ilitch — who already owned the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers. It seemed a great fit as the founder of the Little Caesars Pizza had plenty of cash to make the deal happen (he is worth $1.7 billion).
Then it hit a stumbling block recently. Forbes’ Mike Ozanian explained what happened.
According to one person familiar with the negotiations, after agreeing to a price in excess of $400 million (my source was not more specific), Ilitch discovered the revenues presented in the prospectus were inflated. Ilitch, one of the great gentleman owners in sports, got pissed, lowered his offer price and the deal quickly blew up. I hope to find out more about the actual price in the near future. But from what I am hearing it will now be hard for Davidson to get $400 million for the team given the Ilitch debacle and dismal state of Detroit’s economy.
It is possible Ilitch still ends up with the team, but it looks like this is going to take a while.