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Steve Ballmer reported to be bidding $1.8 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers [Updated]

What do Steve Ballmer, Larry Ellison, and Magic Johnson have in common? They're all interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers from embattled owners Shelly and Donald Sterling. The auction, said to be a blind bidding process in which those bidding do not know what their competition has offered, is moving quickly, with the Sterlings looking to unload the NBA franchise after Donald's racist comments led to his being forcibly removed from the leadership of the team. Ballmer's interest in the team isn't new, but according to Forbes the former Microsoft CEO is offering $1.8 billion.

Sterling paid $12.5 million for the Clippers back in 1981, so the sale, regardless of how it turns out, will net him a return on the investment. A sale for $1.8 billion would be 144 times the 1981 purchase price.

It's clear where Ballmer — whose net worth is estimated to be around $20 billion — and Oracle CEO Ellison (net worth: $43 billion) are finding their money. But Magic Johnson? He did well with the Los Angeles Lakers, but not that well. Johnson is tied up with investment group Guggenheim Partners, with whom he bought the MLB's Dodgers last year for $2 billion.

The other former Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates, on the other hand, is using his many more billions buying things too. Like working to eradicate malaria. But it's Ballmer's money, he can spend it on an NBA team without a championship to its name in a city with another team that has 16 such championships if he really wants to.

Update: Steve Ballmer has bid $2 billion to buy the Los Angeles Clippers. His offer has beat out bids of $1.6 billion and $1.2 billion from investment groups backed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Larry Elison and others. This does not mean Ballmer has bought the Clippers, just that he's offered to pay the most for the team. The current owners of the Clippers will need to accept the offer in order for the sale to move forward. If accepected by Clipper owners and approval of three-fourths of the other NBA owners, the sale would be the largest in NBA history. Source: LA Times

Update 2: is reporting that Steve Ballmer has reached an agreement with Shelly Sterling to buy the Clippers for $2 billion. Source: [NBA](/Shelly Sterling reached an agreement)

Source: Forbes

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

  • This guy...
  • Who is he?
  • Basket ball basket ball basket ball!!! I like metro . Rolled better!!!! That is who he is.. Someone who yelled metro metro metro, and didn't pay for licensing the name and now wtf is the currant name?? Windows 8.1 Apps , windows touch apps , windows non desktop environment replacement views.
  • You shouldn't need to license a simple word.
  • He made a ton of money playing uncle Fester in the Addams Family. 
  • ... is an a**hole!
  • Yeah, he's such an a-hole that office for iPad, SP3, Bing translator that was demoed yesterday, office 365, Xbox one, the purchase of Nokia, azure and more were executed under his watch despite most people here wanting to give Satya credit for them. The only thing Satya deserves credit for is azure as he worked specifically on it.
  • You obviously don't get it. My comment refers to his general nature as a person. Don't get me wrong.. He may be great for MS but his demeanor and how he spends his money isn't something to look up to. Not that I care but this is just my opinion.
  • In what ways does he spend his money that doesn't meet your approval?
  • Are you joking?
  • Just answer it.
  • You obviously don't get it. It's his money so none of your business how he spends it. And he just retired as Microsoft's CEO so he can be as a-hole as he wants to. That he was CEO of Microsoft will forever be etched in Microsoft's and Tech's history. You, what have you achieved so far compared to his multi-billion a-hole.
  • Not being an a-hole I guess... I'll totally trade that in for a few billion dollars.  Hell a few thousand or hundred would do. 
  • Donald Sterling made bank in this deal for calling blacks niggas! Lol
  • Tdk that's funny to you ??? Strange
  • He never used the n word.
  • Yes on the tapes he said it to his ho
  • Holy crap, I hope Rodney didn't hear you say the N word. Or the L word.
  • L word? Lesbian? :P
  • Bring them to Seattle!
  • They do seem a tad redundant since LA has the Lakers already.
  • Bet the Nets, Mets, Jets, Islanders are all redundant too.
  • I do think it is kind of a waste to have multiple professional teams in the same city. Spread the love. Anyway, this franchise is not worth $2 billion, but, then again, it now seems way undervalued ar $12.5 million in 1981.
  • If Beats Audio is worth 3 billion, the clippers are certainly worth 2. Meaning neither of them are worth anywhere near that, but people seem to enjoy overpaying these days.
  • No. They are an LA team and that's where they'll stay...
  • does that mean the fans will be called clippy's?
    "hi it looks like you are trying to make a basket, do you need some help"
  • LOL at the Clippys comment. So good
  • Now they/we have a mascot!
  • Those players are going to be balmers!!
  • LA BALMERS: sounds terrorist
  • That's an expensive pair of nail trimmers.
  • that's really funny
  • Lol
  • Well, they're from California.
  • Just a shame someone's nicked his microphone. Bless him.
  • Little bitter still this asshole is gonna get significantly paid from this transaction. 
  • Damn!!!!
  • moneh!
  • Completely agree. To be honest his comments weren't completely out if line if taken in the right context. But that's an issue for another discussion. But yes everyone has said racist things but its the fact that he said it against a race who is the dominant race contributing to the NBA that made it so in appropriate
  • Please give an example of that context.
  • He's a racist @sshole, but that doesn't change the fact that the team belongs to him. If your investments would be taken away from you for moronic comments, we'd have a lot of problems
  • I don't think you've read any fact about this case. Taking into account context etc. The term racist is flung about far too frequently today. Nice guy no, maybe not, racist, probably no, prejudice, probably, we all have our prejudices.
  • Please give an example, in what context would those words he said not be racist? He has proven himself to be a staunch racist by past actions and lawsuits. Not to mention the statements against him by former employees (not just players). It doesn't sound like you've actually read anything about this issue.
  • I've read enough, we just have different defintions of racist
  • He bought a property to be part of an association that has bylaws, etc. Don't exacerbate the issue and claim that any general freedoms are being taken away.
  • You do know this was a private conversation with his woman who he is very jealous of. Not to mention it was illegally recorded.
  • I'm not exacebrating anything, I'm simply saying, he broke the bylaws he is out, and justifyiably so, but that doesn't mean he forfeits the rights from the sale of the team. I think you need to read better, before you jump into arguments.
  • I agree. We have all made ignorant remarks at some point in our adult life. We are human and we learn these terms in our youth and carry them with us. This way, we will never forget, nor be able to move on. Until then, these categorizations are never going by the wayside. To lose your livelihood, your own team, is just wrong. Place yourself in his shoes after the fact. I'm not condoning his words, but those same players use the term over and over, but that's ok. It's ok to call whites ignorant terms like cracker and nothing as drastic happens.
  • These remarks are just the tip of the iceberg. He has a history of showing just how much of a racist ass he is.
  • Exactly! Yeah, those comments got him in hot water, but he also lost a lawsuit for discriminating against minorities with his Realstate properties. His wife is no different. He gets what he deserves.
  • If being a supposed racist will get me a good chunk of $2B, sign me up so I can get what I deserve. :-)
  • It is true we all make mistakes.  But we also learn that actions have consequences.  This causes most people to be extra careful not to make the mistakes that have huge negative consequences.  Sterling is just now learning this lesson.
  • It's his team, he is the owner. You suggest NBA should confiscate his multi million dollar business over what he said?
  • He can keep the "team" if he wants to, but the NBA is going to take all of the aspects that are tied to the association, player agreements, tv rights, contracts with products (Gatorade, Nike, etc.). Sterling can have as many teams as he wants, they just wont be affiliated with the NBA. It's no different than a player being banned for steroid use.
  • If you bring your employer or an organization you belong to into serious disrepute then they have all rights to fire your dumb ass or kick you to the curb. The NBA is protecting themselves and their billions by doing this.
  • the confusion here is, NBA kicking him out vs NBA taking away the team altogether including the proceeds from the sale. The original comment that started all of this claimed that it sucks he got paid. NBA did the right thing by kicking him out, but you can't take away his rights to the proceeds from the sale, simple as that.
  • They confiscated the new Orleans hornets
  • Only a billion after taxes.
  • Being racist doesn't mean you shouldn't get paid for your investments. Just means you're an asshole.
  • Now compare Bill and Steve. There's quite a diffrence on how these guys spend their money
  • +925
  • stupid comments like this are funny...
    what are you doing commenting here anyway? go and "save" lives or whatever, you talk so much but you don't do shit for anyone. so what? Ballmer can't have something he wants only becuase idiots like you think "oh Bill gates is a god and he only helps people, so everyone who has money should be like him" (because people with no money can't do that.. oh right *sarcasm*).
    I mean, Bill Gates has a foundation, not all the money he spends to help people comes from him... it comes from also other people who wants to help. but again? what do you care? you aren't probably doing crap for others. but of course you won't see at the mirror and think "oh I spent alot of money in a phone, I could have bought a cheaper one and give the rest to someone who needs it" oh no... that's forbidden for you to say only because you don't have billions in your bank, but people with money like Steve Ballmer can't do whatever they way with his money because "oh quite difference" crap comment like yours. and you don't even know if Ballmer has helped or not someone. you are just prejudging him only because news are bout him wanting the basketball team he always wanted (oh yeah let's give up on our dreams because there is poor people around the world *sarcasm again*). you don't have proves or anything to say he hasn't helped anyone, or he isnt giving money to charity, but since it's not in the news... oh yeah "Ballmer isn't helping anyway, unlike bill gates who is news about helping people"
  • I never said I cared what ballmer spent his money on, I'm just stating how different they are. I do my bit for charity and I respect that Bill Gates cares about the world and is doing great things. Is it bad to look up to someone? Bill's charity inspires me to do the same when I get older. I don't understand where the negativety is coming from though. You must be having a really bad day to have a go at someone.
  • Ignore this fool. I've had run ins with this jerk before. Has a habit of telling people to "go away", like they're some moral authority. Apparently has nothing better to do than run people down to make themselves feel superior in their spare time.
  • Ahh guess mother never taught the "If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" lesson
  • If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me!
  • You're a hot headed moron...
    Gates has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth to good causes. Balmer spends 1/10th of his wealth on a basketball team.
    Gates was both a better businessman, and a better human being. & frankly, why shouldn't we expect the super rich to do something altruistic with their wealth?! They were afforded the opportunity to create such wealth by stable social, political and economic systems sustained by little worker bees like us. So yes, why shouldn't we applaud that fortunate 1% who earn mega money & who then have the humanity to give it all back
  • I've read comments by you before and I find that most of them are very aggressive and combative. I think you need to CTFO a little bit.
  • I was hoping Ballmer would move the clippers to Seattle and bring back the Sonics, but I guess that's not the plan after all.
  • I wish. Get the Clippers out of LA. This is a Lakers town. And Seattle needs a team. Too much money here to move the franchise though.
  • No way. Go Clips!!! It's a new era. :)
  • Take that new era out of LA. The old era (and current one) was run by a known scumbag racist. Clippers fans already knew what kind of owns Sterling was decades ago.
  • Disclosure, I know nothing about the NBA. But rather than buy an established brand, could he not start his own with that kind of outlay? I don't know how great the brand is, but it is nowhere near the quality of the Lakers, Bulls etc. I don't recall ever hearing of them before. Can they really be worth so much?
  • The NBA only allows a certain amount of teams to participate. Nobody could just create a team and join the NBA.
  • The Clippers don't have the glamorous history the Bulls or Lakers have. But they are a talented young team a few pieces away from being legit contenders.
  • I still think they will move to Seattle eventually. Maybe just not right away. 
  • Clippers are LA just like Lakers. Let them fight to be the ruler of the town.
  • Yeah, that whole last paragraph is better suited for your Twitter account, Drew.
  • That's what I thought after reading it.
  • I'm a big Clippers fan my entire life, and would love that he'd get the team.
  • Ballmer is later banned for life from the NBA after he runs around his house on one of his sweaty rants.  While the speech contained nothing offending, he was deemed too scary for the NBA. 
  • Defense, defense, defense. Defense, defense, defense.
    Defense, defense, defense.
    Defense, defense, defense.
  • Hahaha
  • He wants to buy them and move the team to Seattle. He wanted to do the same thing with the Kings like a year ago but failed. And i hope he pulls it off. Seattle needs an NBA team and LA doesn't need two. 
  • He said that he wouldn't move the Clippers. It doesn't make business sense because the Los Angeles market is too lucrative.
  • Its a lie... He'll hold them in the LA area for a few years, then start the move to Seattle indefinitely.
  • the reported terms of the deal require that the team stay in LA. he'll have to keep the team in la for a while. LA is the second largest media market. he'll lose value if he moves to seattle. of course he can afford to take the loss.
  • Exactly.  So if he gets them, it's probably bad news for Seattle as they'd have to find another owner.
  • I wish Seattle would get an NHL team when they expand or when they finally move the Panthers
  • Ugh...
  • What's the point of a blind bid? If Steve wants to bid more than the guy from Oracle after he hears the initial offer, what's the harm?
  • The Sterlings want blind bids to maximize the amounts.  If you knew what your opponent was bidding, you'd go just a little higher.  This way, you have to determine what you think the opponent is bidding, then bid higher.  Ballmer may end up bidding a lot higher this way. Game theory
  • Maybe he'll do a better job of running a sports team than he did a technology company......he's what we in the corporate world refer to as a fucking moron
  • Except that MS gained in profits and expanded markets during his reign. MS also avoided what happens to most tech companies. Most dont transition from generation to generation well at all. MS thrived.
  • Hmmm...record profits. I wanna be that level of moronic. Oh, and you certainly don't speak for the "corporate world" as a whole.
  • Maybe the people in the "corporate world" that sit around the water cooler all day just gossiping.
  • We don't have water coolers here, we got rid of them along with the hundreds of crappy windows vista machines we bought back in 2006. 
  • caveat emptor
  • Lol...thanks borasar....about 7 years too cost our IT manager his reputation in the business :-)))))
  • If your corporation bought crappy vista machines, that would make you the morons.
  • Better to stick with crappy XP machines than get crappy Vista ones. Vista was only good on non-crappy machines when it came out (on good PCs it was better, as evidenced by Mojave, or Vista point one a.k.a. 7's popularity). It dragged down weak machines but gave good ones 90% of 7's awesomeness.
  • Shitty place to work, no water for the employees...
  • Water is bought by morons, apparently. He in HIS corporate world makes employees bring their own damn water.
  • Vista ran very well on good machines. But was crap on crappy machines. Buying crappy machines with Vista prove you and your so-called "corporate world" and your crappy IT manager as the real morons.
  • Vista sucked.....period.
  • He will move it to Seattle.
  • Nope
  • unrelated news...
  • Why can't we forget once and for all about this guy ?  
  • I miss him, he was so.......entertaining.
  • lololololol
  • HA! well done sir!
  • If he wins you can watch the clippers play and think of him.
  • This is a bit premature. Sterling is going to fight the NBA ban "until the bitter end", apparently, according to something I read yesterday.
  • You don't really need to read anything to realize that Sterling will involve multiple lawyers in this. This will be in the news for the next year or two.
  • Sterling is the victim here. Django used the word "Nigger" over 180 times and its nominated for multiple awards. Sterling didn't use any derogatory comments but implication is enough I guess to embarrass him nationally and force him out of the game which comments was only known through an illegal wiretap which was leaked in the first place. Nice guys Very nice. Jamie Foxx said the white fans killed MJ during MJs funeral procession but nothing happened to him. Ita great we can persecute an old white guy for his ramblings but the Westboro Baptist church is allowed to run free, desecrating military processions and ceremonies, etc. Please excuse my ramblings. A revolution is due. If you call me an asshole, you've totally missed my point.
  • You're an asshole..
  • Thank you.
  • An idiot and an asshole.
  • Jamie Foxx doesn't own an NBA franchise. As soon as the sale is through, Donald Sterling can say whatever racist crap he wants, and continue to discriminate against minorities, in his real estate holdings, to his heart's content. But at least his slaves (oops, i mean players), will be freed, thankfully. It wasn't an illegal wiretap, btw. She was a private citizen, and was involved in the conversation, in open air. She wasn't the police sitting outside in the exterminator van, with headphones on. Don't know where you were going with the Westboro piece. They get the Sterling treatment, everywhere they go. Most places have enacted ordinances to deter them, and that's what the NBA Constitution, has done to Sterling. Stay 200 feet away from the Staples Center, Mr. Sterling, and you can say whatever you like. And i don't think I've missed your point at all. I just disagree with it. Good Bless Amuurica, and all us 'Muuricans. Written by an honorably discharged Marine vet.
  • I'm a honorably discharged army vet, and where I was going is, I wish the tyranny and corruption would just end already. I'm sick of people taking freedoms for granted, and/or abusing them. After one has fought long and hard for them and lost a few friends, you start to take things very seriously. I know sterling is an asshole, and his punishment was swift and immediate, Westboro may have restrictions, but they have used derogatory comments and nothing happens to them, per the freedom of speech. Ah fuck it, I'm just preaching to the choir. Just another angry postal worker
  • Tyranny? What Tyranny?
  • Where to begin....I'm not, I don't have the time.  But next time try getting some facts into your argument because it's clear from this post that you don't have a clear understanding the laws, the NBA laws, or situation.
  • Please God may I be victimized like Donald Sterling. Being forced to to sell to accept more than 1.7 billion in profit. Boo-freakin-hoo. As for Django, that's quite a comparison. Imagine a movie set during the slavery era having derogatory names for Black people thrown around. WOW, what are the odds? As part of your agreement as an NBA owner you agree to sell the team if the league and the majority of the owner feels your actions/behavior/whatever are detrimental to the league. It's that simple. For the one millionth time, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. So before you start the revolution you might want to be a better handle on the difference between apple and oranges.
  • What I was implying. Which obviously wasn't clear, is that the NBA is quicker to act and more effective against perpetrators than the government/police is against criminals doing the same thing. Westboro church should've been disbanded long ago. Sharpton should be imprisoned for his racist remarks, and Obama impeached as well. Lets not forget to persecute Hillary as well. The country is going down the shithole. I should probably stop and take my meds before I go overboard.
  • Obama was caught on tape saying something racist/out the line? Do you have a copy?
  • Haha man I love the Military especially the Army, my dad is a Ranger and every man on his side is high ranking Army officers, but seriously everytime I see some military dude saying "Obama needs to be impeached" I can't help but laugh. Before we start to impeach presidents now, lets remember y'all didn't try that with bush and his damn son. Impeach Obama all you want but before you do that lets charge people that actually dicked US over in the first place. Ehm.. Bush's.. Ehm...
  • I couldn't stand Bush either. He totally fucked us over as well. Bastard. Obama has done some good stuff, but he has done some tucked up shit. Cough Benghazi cough. Him and Hillary. Haven't had a decent president in a while. Maybe Ballmer should run
  • I'm starting to think you know nothing about the First Amendment?
  • Well... He doesn't seem to be a racist, so he has that going for him...
  • Considering the Bucks sold last month for $550m, and the Kings for the same last year, 1.8b seems like WAY too much to pay for LA's second NBA team. 
  • This would make the clippers my 2nd team haha
  • This is where my allegiance switches from the Lakers to the Clippers.
  • I'm totally giving you the Kobe death stare right now.
  • Even if he moves them to Seattle?
  • Especially if he moves them to Seattle!
  • Microsoft Clippers....
  • Microsoft Clippys!
  • Clippy!!!
  • Buy Milan fc Steve, please !!!!!!
  • "I see you're preparing for a layup.  Would you like help with that?" -- Microsoft Clippery
  • You win the internet
  • Nice.
  • Any chance Clippy will come back as a team mascot? Now I see why he's hanging out with Cortana..
  • I know Ballmer used to be CEO of Microsoft, but this still has a very tenuous connection to anything regarding news related to mobile or even Windows. This is the kind of content I expect to see on the Bleacher Report or Yahoo News, not WPC.
  • A lot us around here like Ballmer the board member and largest shareholder of MSFT
  • +1 psychotron. I'm very disappointed to see WPC reporting extremely unimportant non-tech news .
  • So, tell me how ya really feel about the clippers Derek... Hahahaha
  • Hmm... Can somebody why explain why Ballmer wants to buy L.A. Clippers? What does it got to do with Microsoft and its product?
  • he wants to buy the team becuase he likes the sport, and he said he wanted a team, even before stepping down as a MS CEO.
    what does it have to do with Microsoft? not much, only that Ballmer was Microsoft CEO until few months ago and he is still in the board (may quit soon) and is the person with more Microsoft stock at the moment. is that not enough for you?
    you didn't have to read it, and less comment on this. but that's why it's in General News, and not other label. but at least this has more to do with Microsoft than Apple adquisition yesterday or Goole and Chrome and extensions.
  • This is a tech site. This article is entirely US sports related and therefore completely out of place on this site. We're already straying from the core of mobile phone news with general tech news, laptop reviews, xbox ecosystem etc. I'm fine with tech news, industry news, or anything to do with Microsoft and it's range of products. But a former MS CEO buying a sports team doesn't have a single thing to do with Microsoft itself or it's products and it simply has no place here. It's about as interesting as what his next house, car or shoe purchase is going to be.
  • Last name BALLmer.... Likes basketBALL..... Should have known!
  • +620
  • Fuck the clippers. Might as well call them the 'LA Niggers" as sterling would say
  • Wow.
  • yeah Derek Kessler, only because news are not about Ballmer helping other, it automatically means he isn't or hasn't helped anyone /s when was the last time you helped someone? excuse me? because having billions, millions, thousands or few dollars, doesn't mean you can't help others. or are you talking crap just because you wrote the article?
    does it hurt you so much people have dreams and only because there is sick or poor people in the world, some people don't give up on them? like Ballmer and having a Basketball team? does it hurt you so much something like that?
    how many devices (since we are in a tech site) have you bought in 3 years? how many times you have stopped from buying a phone or ipad or laptop and thinking "oh I will give the money to someone else"? again, I think your