SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced Friday that the deal for the Maloof family to sell the Kings to software billionaire Vivek Ranadive has been signed.
The announcement came two days after the NBA Board of Governors voted 22-8 to turn down the Maloofs' proposed sale of the team to a group planning to move the franchise to Seattle. And it came after five months of work to put an ownership group together, organize a viable plan for a new arena and convince the NBA's owners that the Kings were better served by remaining in Sacramento.
"This was one heck of a comeback," Johnson, a former All-Star point guard, told a throng of Kings fans.
The franchise was valued at $523 million for the sale, an NBA record according to ESPN. Ranadive, who had to divest his minority ownership in the Golden State Warriors, will purchase 65 percent of the Kings from the Maloof family, and his group put more than $341 million in escrow to ensure the deal could be executed.
"It's a new era today," said Johnson, joined on state by politicians, local team investors and supporters who helped in the effort to keep the franchise.
"We know it's about a team, yes, but it's about jobs, it's about revitalizing our downtown community, it's about civic pride.
He also drew a rousing applause by proclaiming: "It's about not letting somebody take something away that's not theirs. We don't take a backseat to anyone."
The work is far from done, however. The next step is for a stadium project to be announced.
Ranadive will be the first owner of Indian descent in the NBA, but he has deep pockets behind him, too. Included in the ownership group is former Facebook executive Chris Kelly, 24-Hour Fitness Founder Mark Mastrov, the Jacobs Family, which runs Qualcomm communications company and Raj Bhathal, who made his fortune in swimwear with Raj Manufacturing but was once the owner of a World Football League team in Orlando.
Bhathal will have a significant role with the Kings, and this venture represents a 30-year chase of a Sacramento franchise. In the early 1990s, he tried to buy the WFL's Sacramento Surge but was outbid by Fred Anderson.