Private Equity Billionaire Gores To Buy Detroit Basketball Franchise

Apr 19 2011 | 11:27am ET

The ranks of alternative investment moguls-turned-sports team owners is set to get a little bigger at the end of June.

Billionaire Tom Gores, head of private equity firm Platinum Equity, has reached an agreement to buy the National Basketball Association's Detroit Pistons. It is unclear how much Gores, who grew up and went to college in Michigan before decamping for Los Angeles, will pay for the team, which was valued by Forbes magazine at about $360 million.

Platinum Equity will itself become a minority owner of the team, as well as its home arena, the Palace at Auburn Hills, and the nearby DTE Energy Music Theater.

Gores has been in talks with Pistons owner Karen Davidson, whose husband, Bill, bought the team in 1974 but died in 2009, since late last year. He beat out Little Ceaser's pizza owner Mike Illitch, who had hoped to add the Pistons to his Motor City sports empire, which already includes baseball's Detroit Tigers and hockey's Detroit Red Wings.

"I know it's been a long process and I appreciate the patience and support of the Detroit community," Gores said. "I grew up here, I am glad to be back, and I am very excited about the possibilities looking forward."

Gores' deal still requires the approval of the NBA. It is expected to close by June 30.

Gores is just the latest alternatives player to buy a sports team in recent months and years. Just last month, Junction Investors' Thomas DiBenedetto reach a deal to buy Italian soccer team AS Roma, with Raptor Capital Management founder James Pallotta among his minority partners. Pallotta is a minority owner of the NBA's Boston Celtics, and DiBenedetto himself is a minority partner of Fenway Sports Group, headed by hedge fund billionaire John Henry, which owns baseball's Boston Red Sox and English soccer team Liverpool Football Club, as well as a NASCAR racing team.

Last year, Vinik Asset Management's Jeffrey Vinik, another FSG minority partner, bought hockey's Tampa Bay Lightning, and earlier this year scooped up arena football team the Tampa Bay Storm.


In Depth

Why Ponzi Schemes Work: An In-Depth Look At The Allen Stanford Fraud

Dec 21 2014 | 10:30am ET

Texan Allen Stanford first appeared on the radars of financial regulators in 1997...

Lifestyle

Hedgie Funds US Squash Program

Dec 24 2014 | 8:46am ET

Squash, anyone?

Guest Contributor

EidoSearch’s Top Three Market Projections For 2015

Dec 23 2014 | 4:03am ET

It is that time of year again when prognosticators make their big market calls for...

 

Sponsored Content

Editor's Note

    Guidelines for Guest Articles

    Oct 22 2014 | 9:46am ET

    We are always looking for guest articles from hedge fund managers and buy-side firms.

    If you are interested in submitting a contributed piece for possible publication on FINalternatives, please take a look at the specs. Read more…

 

Futures Magazine

December 2014 Cover

Futures 2014 person of the year

Jeff Sprecher was simply looking for a platform to trade energies when launching ICE 14 years ago but it has grown to reach the pinnacle of both the listed futures and equities world.

The Alpha Pages

TAP July/August 2014 Cover

The Alpha Pages Interview: Senator Rand Paul

Senator Paul sat down in the debut series of the Alpha Pages Interview to discuss the broken tax code, regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and his plans for the 2016 Presidential election.