Oprah Winfrey, media mogul David Geffen and Oracle Larry Ellison are reportedly putting together some spare change to buy the Los Angeles Clippers.
The National Basketball Association on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban against Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks attributed to him and moved to force him to sell his team.
“Oprah Winfrey is in discussions with David Geffen and Larry Ellison to make a bid for the Los Angeles Clippers should the team become available,” Winfrey spokeswoman Nicole Nichols said in a statement.
TheWrap on Tuesday reported Geffen's interest in buying the team, and Ellison also previously expressed a desire to purchase the Clippers should the team become available.
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NBA owners will vote on whether to force Sterling to sell the team after a tape containing racist comments was leaked over the weekend.
Ellison, the fifth richest man in the world, made previous runs at buying the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets, but he was outbid both times. If the Clippers’ sale becomes a bidding war, no one has a bigger war chest than Ellison.
Geffen told Forbes reporter Ryan Mac on Tuesday, “I would very much like to buy the team.” Geffen made a $700 million offer to buy the team in 2010 but was rebuffed. The price tag has definitely gone up.
According to a blog from Forbes writer Kurt Badenhausen, leading candidates to be the next owners of the Clippers - minus Ellison and Geffen, who would move to the top of the list if they teamed up, with or without Winfrey - are:
_ Magic Johnson & Guggenheim Partners, who blew other bidders out of the water paying $2 billion for the Dodgers.
_ Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon turned entrepreneur who is Los Angeles’ wealthiest resident. Magic Johnson sold his 4 percent stake in the Lakers to Soon-Shiong in 2010.
_ Henry Samueli, who co-founded chipmaker Broadcom and bought the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks in 2005.
_ Real estate tycoon Rick Caruso, who failed in his bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.
_ Seattle hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who partnered with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to try and bring the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. It’s highly unlikely the NBA would approve a move by the Clippers to Seattle.
_ Actor/comedian Billy Crystal, who owns a small piece of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
_ Boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who retired as a boxer in 2009 and has built the biggest boxing promotion firm in the U.S. with the help of Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer.
_ Boxer Floyd Mayweather, who threw his name into the ring Tuesday while talking to the media promoting his Saturday fight with Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas. A jail sentence for domestic violence, a penchant for gambling and his own racist rant against Manny Pacquiao are a few of the strikes against a bid involving Mayweather, Badenhausen writes.