Warriors majority owner Chris Cohan is looking to sell the team, according to multiple sources. He recently negotiated with Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison but couldn't reach an agreement. Still, he is looking to "cash out" and is open to offers.
The Warriors did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday.
According to one of the sources, potential suitors have tried to take advantage of Cohan's perceived vulnerability and get the Warriors at a bargain. Cohan reportedly has money problems, including a tax evasion claim against him by the IRS.
The poor economy also is a factor. Basketball revenue is down and expected to continue to decline. The NBA salary cap, which is based on basketball revenue, dropped $1 million for next season, and the NBA warned teams it could drop more than $4 million the following season.
Golden State is coming off a 29-win season with little expectations of a dramatic turnaround in the immediate future.
Despite these factors, one of the sources said Cohan won't be lowballed. The Warriors are valued at $335 million, according to Forbes' annual report of sports franchises.
Cohan purchased the Warriors in 1995 for $119 million, and he now owns 80 percent of the franchise after selling a minority interest five years ago.
"If he gets the right offer," one source said, "I think he would sell the team right now. But he's not giving it away for pennies."
Another potential suitor is a group led by the team's minority owners. MediaNews has learned Cohan also had talks with some minority owners about buying him out.
Cohan's interest in selling is only the start of the process, which could take a couple years. First, a potential suitor and Cohan would have to agree on a deal, which would lead to a laborious transition of ownership. The NBA would have to approve any sale.
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