34-year-old billionaire Robert Pera has agreed to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies for around $350 million according to ESPN.com.
“Sources told ESPN.com that Heisley has an agreement in principle to sell the team to communications technology magnate Robert Pera, who at 34 has a spot on Forbes’ list of the 10 youngest billionaries in the world.
The purchase price is in the $350 million range, sources said. A formal announcement to publicize the agreement between the parties is expected this week, possibly as soon as later Monday, with NBA Board of Governors approval then required before Pera can be officially installed as successor to Heisley, who recently turned 75.”
Apparently, the Grizzlies are much more likely to spend into the luxury tax under Pera.
“The 34-year-old Northern California native is a former engineer at Apple who left the computer giant at 25 to start his own company. Today Pera owns a reported 64 percent of the Ubiquiti Networks he founded and operates the company out of Taiwan as well as San Jose. Pera speaks Chinese and Japanese and is said to play basketball four to five times per week.”
Heisley was notorious for his frugal spending. That perception has dwindled after he signed Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph to long-term contracts, leading to some moderate success for the franchise. As of now, they have eight guaranteed contracts worth at least $48 million. Darrell Arthur, O.J. Mayo and Marreese Speights are their notable restricted free agents.
The team was previously shopping Gay to Brooklyn, Charlotte, Golden State and Toronto in an attempt to alleviate their financial burdens. Whether they continue that pursuit under a seemingly more dedicated owner remains to be seen.