Clippers sold to former Microsoft CEO for $2 billion

Demonstrators protest

Susan Wright holds a sign protesting racist comments made by L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling outside Staples Center before a playoff game on April 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has reportedly won the bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise, with a $2 billion offer. As Marketplace has reported, less successful teams in smaller markets have sold for just a fraction of that figure.

According to the Los Angeles Times, this sale would be the biggest in NBA history:

Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler at $1.2 billion.

Any sale would still need to be approved by league owners, who shot down Ballmer's earlier bid for the Sacramento Kings.

Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling has chosen to sell the team five days ahead of an NBA hearing to take the team out of her family's hands. Her husband and former co-owner, billionaire Donald Sterling, bought the team for $12 million 30 years ago.

Thus, the man banned, chastised and fined for racist comments -- could be looking at a pay day of billions of dollars.

Read Marketplace's past coverage of the Clippers' regime change:

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