Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, its been confirmed, with the outspoken executive channeling his retirement time into a new hobby as team owner. Ballmer is believed to have beaten out several other bids, including one by David Geffen for $1.6bn.
Whispers of Ballmer’s interest in the team surfaced yesterday, with the deal said to have been already given approval by Shelly Sterling, sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust which owns the Clippers.
At the time, Ballmer’s offer was said to be one of several. As well as Geffen’s $1.6 billion attempt to grab the LA team, investor pairing Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh are believed to have offered The Sterling Family Trust $1.2 billion.
“I love basketball,” Ballmer said in a statement today. “And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles.”
Free time is something that Ballmer has in abundance now, having stepped down from the position of Microsoft chief executive in late 2013. That decision was more one of being pushed out than Ballmer willingly giving up the job, it was rumored at the time.
In many ways, Ballmer’s approach to presentations and – it’s widely rumored – board meetings is more akin to shouting at players from the sidelines of the court. That, along with the obvious pun-potential of “Clippers” and “Clippy” – Microsofts ill-fated and little-loved assistant – and Ballmer’s track record of throwing chairs, means the former CEO will likely have plenty to advise his new team on, as well as plenty of material for angry fans to use if the Clippers don’t perform.