Deal to keep Kings in Sacramento gets signed

TRACIE CONE
Last updated 07:02 18/05/2013

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Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said today that the deal to sell the Kings to a group led by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive has been signed.

Johnson helped assemble the new ownership group in a bid to keep the Kings in California's capital city, a feat that was accomplished earlier in the week when NBA owners rejected a bid to move the franchise to Seattle.

The NBA is expected to officially approve the sale next week.

A person familiar with the deal had previously told The Associated Press that the Maloof family had reached an agreement to sell a 65 percent controlling interest in the Kings at a total franchise valuation of US$535 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk publicly.

Two days ago, the NBA Board of Governors rejected a bid from a Seattle group that wanted to buy and move the franchise to the Pacific Northwest.

The 22-8 vote killed a deal that would have sold a 65 percent controlling interest at a total franchise valuation of US$625 million to the group led by investor Chris Hansen, who boosted the offer twice after the NBA showed an unwillingness to relocate.

The vote ended an emotional saga that has dragged on for nearly three years. Hansen wanted to move the franchise and rename it the SuperSonics, who left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008 and were renamed the Thunder. NBA Commissioner David Stern praised Hansen's proposal and said the NBA might consider expansion once a new TV deal is in place.

The Sacramento ownership group also includes 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, former Facebook senior executive Chris Kelly and the Jacobs family that owns communications giant Qualcomm.

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- AP

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