Report: Sacramento group encouraged by NBA to put remainder of Kings purchasing price in escrow

Vivek Ranadivé at the Downtown Plaza. (Photo: Morgan Ragan)

Less than a week remains before the NBA is expected to decide on the fate of the Sacramento Kings.  The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that the league is encouraging the prospective ownership group led by Vivek Ranadivé to put down the rest of its purchasing offer for the Kings into escrow.

A league source familiar with the situation said NBA officials are suggesting the private investment group led by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive make the move to prove it has the wherewithal to sign what has been described as a back-up offer to purchase the team.

The Maloof family has expressed concerns privately about the financing of the Ranadive group, which includes the Jacobs family of San Diego, owners of Qualcomm Co.

Ranadive’s group already has put 50 percent of its team purchase offer into an escrow account, sources said. Putting the entire amount down  would help “alleviate the Maloofs’ concern, and greatly increase the likelihood a deal could get done,” the source said.

The Bee also reports that the Seattle group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has already put 100 percent of their offer for the Kings into escrow.  They have an existing agreement to buy controlling interest of the franchise from the Maloof family for approximately $358 million.

Ranadivé and company matched the original deal agreed to by the Kings majority owners and Hansen, but did not raise their bid after the prospective owners from the Pacific Northwest threw in an additional $17 million into their offer.  Though Ranadivé’s bid is slightly lower than the Hansen’s, NBA Commissioner David Stern has said both deals are “in the same ballpark with respect to the net result to the selling family”.

League owners will congregate in Dallas next Wednesday and are expected to vote on the relocation and sale of the team.  On April 29th, the NBA’s relocation committee unanimously recommended against moving the Kings to Seattle.

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