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Memphis Grizzlies Minority Owners Can Begin Purchase Process

Memphis Grizzlies

Under a process that reportedly begins today, two minority owners of the Memphis Grizzlies can try to purchase the team from majority owner Robert Pera

According to some of the details reported by ESPN this week, minority owners Steven Kaplan and Daniel Straus can move forward with an attempt to purchase the team. Both minority owners have the right to make an offer on the five-year anniversary of Pera’s initial $377 million purchase of the Grizzlies, and ESPN intially reported that “one or both” were expected to begin the process within a a 60-day window.

It is believed that Kaplan will make a bid, but the process will be a time-consuming one that involve numerous layers, as Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal explains:

But first, understand that none of this is going to happen quickly. Kaplan and Straus have 60 days to make their bid, and the timeline stretches on after that.

It’s not a simple matter of Kaplan showing Pera his number, and Pera declaring that he’s in or he’s out.

Nor — as I’ve written before — is there any danger of the Grizzlies leaving Memphis anytime soon, no matter who emerges with the team. The FedExForum lease binds the Grizzlies to Memphis through the 2020-21 season and contains considerable protections beyond that. In addition, the local owners agreed to join Pera’s group back in 2012 in exchange for the right to buy the team “at a price equal to (Pera’s) invested capital in the event he files with the NBA to relocate the team within 15 years of the closing date of the transaction.”

In other words, if Pera tries to move the team any time before 2027, the local owners could — and certainly would — buy it from him. Multiple sources have told me this provision would also apply to Kaplan, if he emerges with the team.

Additional terms, per ESPN, allow Kaplan and Straus another opportunity to undertake this process in 2020 if they choose to pass on it now. Should one or both of them make an offer, Pera would either have to buy out their shares or sell his stake in the Grizzlies at valuation over the course of a subsequent 60-day period.

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