SBD/July 30, 2012/Franchises

Sources: Pera's Search For Local Grizzlies Partners Not Based On Financial Need

Prospective Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera is “actively seeking local partners to join his bid to buy the team,” according to sources cited by Calkins, Tillery & Veazey of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. A source said that Pera “said he isn't seeking local ownership based on need but because of what his group learned from visiting with local business leaders” two weeks ago in Memphis. The source added that Pera “flew to Colorado in the past week to meet with AutoZone founder and current local partner J.R. ‘Pitt’ Hyde and that Pera has also been in Memphis recently.” It is unclear “who all he met with, though sources confirmed he met with FedEx CEO Fred Smith and other FedEx leaders to get acquainted.” Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley "has had local partners throughout his ownership, though their shares have varied” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 7/28).

GETTING SCHOOLED: The AP’s Adrian Sainz noted the Grizzlies have “created and sponsored” Grizzlies Prep School, a “new boys-only charter middle school opening” today. The downtown Memphis school “starts with 75 sixth-graders, adding a grade per year until it’s grades six through eight.” The curriculum is “challenging, with a strong focus on math and literacy.” The goal is “not only to prepare students for college but also to teach them to be responsible, productive men in a city where too many young males get wrapped up in crime and gangs.” School Dir Elizabeth Simpson said that the “typical student comes from parts of the city zoned for a failing middle school.” About 90% of the students are African-American, and “many come from low-income families.” Parents submitted applications and students “were selected by lottery.” Active players, coaches and other franchise members “will visit the school and interact with the students directly.” Simpson said, “The Grizzlies really want to have a powerful impact, and education is such a great way to do that” (AP, 7/28).
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