Maloofs agree on deal to sell Kings
Updated: January 21, 2013, 10:52 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
The Maloof family that owns the Sacramento Kings has reached an agreement to sell the controlling interest in the franchise to a Seattle group intent on moving it in time for next season.
Sources told ESPN.com that NBA teams were formally notified Sunday night that the Kings have been valued at $525 million and that the Maloofs and a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen have executed a purchase and sale agreement, which the NBA confirmed through a statement Monday morning.
The Seattle group intends to file for relocation by the league's March 1 deadline.
Although the sale still requires formal league approval, ownership transfers typically go through when they reach this phase.
The agreement to transfer the 65 percent majority stake in the Kings to the Seattle group headed by Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer represents the 53 percent owned by the Maloofs and an additional 12 percent from minority owner Bob Hernreich.
The NBA announced Monday: "The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board's committee process for review."
Sources said that there has not yet been an agreement submitted on the remaining 35 percent of the franchise, which is held by minority shareholders, not the Maloofs.
"We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members," Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said in a statement on behalf of the family. "We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise."
One source close to the process told ESPN.com's J.A. Adande that the Maloof family, as it was hoping, will retain a "small piece" of minority interest in the franchise after its expected relocation to Seattle and renaming as the SuperSonics for next season. It's believed, though, that the Maloofs will hold no decision-making power once control of the franchise is transferred.
The deal, according to sources familiar with the specifics, calls for the Maloofs to receive a non-refundable $30 million deposit from the Seattle group by Feb. 1. The NBA, furthermore, is fully expecting Hansen to apply for relocation to Seattle for the 2013-14 season by the league's March 1 deadline, enabling the league's board of governors to vote on the application at their annual April meeting.
"It's not something we're focussed on and considering right now."