Tom Gores, a Michigan native worth an estimated $2.2 billion, will complete his purchase of the Detroit Pistons as soon as next week, the Detroit News reports.
It may well take longer to complete the deal, but the goal is to have the sale done in time to present it to the NBA Board of Governors — the other owners — at their meeting All-Star Weekend, Feb. 18 to 20 in Los Angeles.
Gores was raised in Flint, went to Michigan State, used to sell computer equipment in Michigan but moved to California and now is the man behind Platinum Equity, which is a power in the leveraged buyout business.
He is a guy known for buying struggling businesses and turning them into something profitable. He’s also known as a guy who does not overpay for properties he buys. Forbes had estimated the Pistons (and the Palace at Auburn Hills) to be worth $480 million, but with the down economy hitting Michigan very hard, and the slumping play of the Pistons hurting the team’s gate, this sale is likely for considerably less. No actual sale price has been leaked.
The Pistons are owned by Karen Davidson, who took control of the team after the passing of her husband Bill. She has worked with Citibank as her agent to sell the Pistons.
It appeared Mike Ilitch — the Little Caesars Pizza founder and already owner of the Red Wings and Tigers in Detroit — was going to purchase the team and had an exclusive negotiating agreement after coming is as the high bidder. However, after getting a look at the actual books of the franchise he decreased his offer dramatically. Soon the process was again opened to others.
Now it appears Gores is on the verge of completing purchase of the team. He declined to comment when approached by the Detroit News at last week’s Lakers/Pistons game in Los Angeles (where he lives now).