SBD/Issue 202/Franchises

Warriors Owner Cohan Has Talks With Two Potential Buyers

Ellison Reportedly Has Talked With Warriors
Owner Chris Cohan About Buying Team
Warriors Owner Chris Cohan "recently held separate buy-out talks" with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and business execs Michael Marks, Jim Davidson, John Thompson and Fred Harman, who collectively bought a 20% minority interest in the franchise five years ago, according to sources cited by Tim Kawakami of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. It is "unclear if there were specific numbers offered back and forth in either discussion, and it's unclear if there could and will be other suitors." Cohan's "ultimate price tag is not known." One source suggested that Cohan came "very close to selling out to Ellison, then pulled back at the last moment." Oracle owns the naming rights to the Warriors' arena, but Ellison "has not been spotted in attendance in recent years" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/9). In California, Marcus Thompson II notes Cohan reportedly has "money problems, including a tax evasion claim against him by the IRS," and a source said that potential suitors have "tried to take advantage of Cohan's perceived vulnerability and get the Warriors at a bargain." However, a source said that Cohan "won't be lowballed." Thompson notes Forbes in its latest valuation of NBA franchises valued the Warriors at $335M, and Cohan purchased the franchise in '95 for $119M. A source: "If he gets the right offer, I think he would sell the team right now. But he's not giving it away for pennies" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 7/9).

STEP FORWARD? In California, Cam Inman writes under the header, "Hooray, Warriors For Sale." News that the team is "indeed for sale should tickle the loyal but frustrated legion of fans who've endured far too many playoff-less seasons under Chris Cohan's ownership." And while "several obstacles likely are ahead until a buyer agrees to Cohan's asking price," this moment "calls for the most optimistic outlook toward a better future" (CONTRA COSTA TIMES, 7/9). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes taking over the franchise from Cohan is "like being handed a map with directions to the good life," as Oracle Arena "should be good for another 20 years." The team also has a "rabid fan base with a history of tolerating defeat but clearly eager to embrace even modest success." The notion of a new owner taking over the team "sends spasms of delight through a devoted and passionate fan base" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/9).

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