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Report: Future Grizzlies owner focused on staying in Memphis

The SportsXchange

Soon-to-be Grizzlies owner Robert Pera will reportedly sell up to 35 percent of the team to a group of local partners, which should help anchor the team in Memphis for years to come.

According to the Memphis Commerical-Appeal, Pera agreed to give the local ownership partners refusal rights and the option to buy the team at the current price if Pera decides to move it. He also agreed to a penalty of $100 million if the team is moved.

The first right of refusal clause would afford Memphis-area investors the chance to match any offer Pera receives to buy the franchise.

The provisions are reportedly for 15 years, and the investment group includes AutoZone Founder J.R. Hyde, Dobbs Management CEO Ed Dobbs, investment firm CEO Duncan Williams and Southeastern Asset Management President Stanly Cates. Cates and Hyde were also partial owners under current owner Michael Heisley.

Heisley reached an agreement in principle with Pera on June 10 with a purchase price between $345 million and $355 million.

Pera, 34, was an engineer at Apple before he started a communications company that manufactures wireless products and focuses on underserved and emerging markets.
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