Michael Heisley bought the team in 2000 for $160 million. In January of this year, Forbes estimated the Memphis Grizzlies to be worth $269 million.
Monday the sale of the Grizzlies from Heisley to Robert Pera became official — at a price of $377 million, according to the Commercial Appeal.
For those of you scoring at home, that is a $217 million profit in 12 years, and if you adjust for inflation (using CPI) it comes to $162 million.
Just remember that next time an owner cries poverty about the tax line or how they are losing money.
But this is good news for the Grizzlies — Pera and his minority owners are now in charge of the franchise. The NBA Board of Governors (made up of the owners) approved the sale last week.
Pera has recruited a wide range of investors to join his bid, including local businessmen such as AutoZone founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, investor Staley Cates, financier Duncan Williams, investor Edward Dobbs and cell phone tower developer Billy Orgel. Performer Justin Timberlake, who has Shelby County roots; Memphis native Ashley Manning and her husband Peyton Manning, the NFL and former University of Tennessee quarterback; Tiger basketball legends Penny Hardaway and Elliot Perry; and former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. are also part of Pera’s ownership group.
Pera also agreed to a three-pronged proposal of safeguards that essentially binds the team in Memphis for another 15 years.
It’s impossible to tell how Pera’s ownership will impact what is a good team on the court and the direction they chart for the future. But Heisley was not considered a good owner for most of his term and came into a winning team and fortune on the court the past couple of years. It will be interesting to see what direction Pera will chart from here, and how he will influence front office moves.
Bottom line, an energetic new owner who is locked in to staying in Memphis is good for the city and good for the NBA.