Platinum Equity Chair & CEO Tom Gores "has struck a tentative deal to buy the Pistons from Karen Davidson," according to a source cited by Tom Walsh of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. The "tentative agreement, which must be approved by the NBA, may be announced as early" as Friday. The agreement was reached Thursday night at the office of a Birmingham, Mich., law firm "after several days of intense bargaining over details." The total value of the deal, which "includes the team, the Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre," is expected to be announced at $420M. Current ownership is "expected to retain a minority stake of perhaps 10% for up to several years." NBA Commissioner David Stern reportedly is "familiar with the deal ... and said to be supportive." Gores is "listed by Forbes magazine as one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth" of $2.2B (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/11). But the DETROIT NEWS' Krupa & Goodwill cite sources who have denied the report that a tentative agreement was reached Thursday. The sources said that there is "no agreement in place to sell the team and the two sides continue to bargain on a price." Davidson told WDIV-NBC Thursday that "no agreement is in place." Krupa & Goodwill report the Pistons are "about to extend exclusive negotiations" with Gores "for two weeks as negotiations gather steam" (DETROIT NEWS, 2/11).
LONG TIME COMING: In Detroit, Michael Rosenberg writes of the reported deal, "You can be sure there is relief in the halls of the Palace empire. Almost two years have passed since owner Bill Davidson died, and uncertainty and discomfort have dominated at the Palace." Gores "would be wise to look at what went wrong the last two years, and what went right in the decades before that." What made Bill Davidson "such a great owner was that he made his expectations clear, then gave his employees a chance to meet them" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/11).