SBD/Issue 94/Franchises

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison Confirms Interest In Buying Warriors

Sources Indicate Ellison Unwilling To Pay
Asking Price Of $400M For Warriors
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison yesterday confirmed that he is "interested in buying" the Warriors from Owner Chris Cohan, according to Frank Hughes of SI.com. Ellison was asked about speculation that he will buy the Warriors during a conference to discuss Oracle's plans for its takeover of Sun Microsystems. Ellison: "I'm trying. I'm trying. Unfortunately you can't have a hostile takeover of a basketball team." But Warriors President Robert Rowell said that Ellison has "never made an offer to buy the team." NBA sources said that Cohan is "asking at least $400[M] for the team, and indications are that Ellison is not willing to pay what appears to be an inflated price given the economy and impending lockout after next season." But Ellison's latest comments indicate that he "may be looking to open dialogue with Cohan" (SI.com, 1/27). Rowell yesterday said, "I've been hearing this for years. At some point in time, the media speculation will become a reality. But right now, there's not much to this." While Cohan has given "no indication he plans to put the franchise up for sale any time soon, there's thinking that he would certainly listen if an incredible offer was made down the road" (AP, 1/27). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes, "So ends the speculation, rumor and innuendo. So begins the dreaming." It is "game on," as Ellison is "telling the world he wants to buy the team." Ellison "used 15 unambiguous words to thrust the ball into Cohan's chest." Since becoming the principal owner of the team in '95, Cohan has been a "disaster, with teams defined by failures and a franchise gripped in dysfunction." There is "no knowing what kind of owner Ellison would be, but it's impossible to imagine him being less effective than Cohan" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 1/28).

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