Tech Billionaire Robert Pera To Buy Memphis Grizzlies NBA Franchise
The Memphis Grizzlies National Basketball Association franchise will apparently soon have a new owner: Former Apple engineer Robert Pera has reached a tentative deal (i.e., an agreement in principle) to buy the team for about $350 million from current owner Michael Heisley.
Pera, 34, one of the world’s youngest billionaires, is the founder, principal owner, and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks, Inc., a multinational wireless technology company. He reportedly gave Heisley an “eight figure” deposit for the Grizzlies on Monday. Pera became a billionaire when his company went public in October 2011.
Sources told ESPN that “A formal announcement to publicize the agreement between the parties is expected this week, possibly as soon as later Monday, with NBA Board of Governors approval then required before Pera can be officially installed as successor to Heisley.”
Pera, who is a basketball fanatic, apparent plans to keep the team in Memphis where the team’s lease at FedExFourum runs through 2021. Heisley, 75, bought the team in 2000 and moved it from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Memphis. The Grizzlies came into being in 1995, at the same as the Toronto Raptors, when the NBA expanded into Canada.
In his purchase of the Memphis Grizzlies, Pera seems to be taking a page out of Mark Cuban’s book, another tech mogul and basketball fan who famously bought the Dallas Mavericks.
It’s not been a complete layup for Pera or his company, however. Forbes reports that he is “only” worth $980 million at the moment after shares of Ubiquiti Networks plunged to an all-time low last week.
[image courtesy of Robert J. Pera]