SBD/August 23, 2012/Franchises

Pera Reaches Deal With Local Investors That Likely Will Keep Grizzlies In Memphis

Local investors would own between 30-35% of Grizzlies under Pera's ownership
Prospective Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has “reached an agreement with a group of local partners that will practically guarantee the franchise's future in Memphis for another 15 years,” according to Calkins & Veazey of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. Pera has “agreed to three provisions: 1) a $100 million penalty if the team is moved, 2) a right of first refusal under which the local owners will be able to match any offer Pera receives to sell the team and 3) the right for the locals to buy the team from Pera at the current price if he wants to move it.” All provisions are “in effect for the next 15 years.” The local group includes AutoZone Founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde, Southeastern Asset Management President Staley Cates, Dobbs Management CEO Ed Dobbs, investment firm Duncan-Williams CEO Duncan Williams and Tower Ventures CEO Billy Orgel. Cates and a source both “confirmed the details of the agreement Monday.” Hyde and Cates are “holdovers from the old local ownership group” under current Owner Michael Heisley. Other partners are “expected to emerge.” The local group “will own between 30 and 35 percent of the team” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/23). In Memphis, Geoff Calkins writes the Grizzlies “aren't moving.” They may be “good, they may be bad, they may be in the NBA Finals or in the NBA lottery,” but they “will be in Memphis.” Calkins: “Never again will you have to listen to those who would tell you the team will be out of here in five years or ten” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/23).
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