In a major upset, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is not the new owner of the Golden State Warriors. That title goes to Joseph Lacob.
As Bay Area News Group previously reported, Lacob, currently part owner of the Boston Celtics, is the winning bidder. Ellison, though, claims that he submitted a higher bid.
"Although I was the highest bidder, Chris Cohan decided to sell to someone else," Ellison said in a statement released by a spokeswoman at his company, Oracle. "In my experience, this is a bit unusual."
Sal Galatioto, who runs Galatioto Sports Partners, the firm hired by current owner Chris Cohan to facilitate the selling process, intimated that Ellison's bid came too late. Galatioto said on KNBR-680 that
Lacob is a managing partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capitalist firm in Menlo Park. His group includes Peter Guber of Mandalay Entertainment.
"I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to be the next steward of this storied NBA franchise. This is my dream come true," said Lacob, in a statement. "Peter and I intend to do what we do best — innovating and building. It is our passion to return the Warriors to greatness and build nothing short of a championship organization that will make all of us in the Bay Area proud."
The sales price is a record $450 million, which easily broke the record price paid for an NBA franchise, which is the
"I look forward and appreciate the opportunity to help make the future of the Golden State Warriors franchise become an even greater story to tell," said Guber, Mandalay Entertainment Group Chairman.
Lacob and Guber went above the price Ellison was initially willing to pay to Cohan.
The announcement was expected Tuesday as word leaked out about the imminent deal. While ever so close, the proceedings carried on until Thursday.
Most people expected Ellison, who was the favorite all along, to win the bid. But one source said Ellison simply refused to pay above what he thought was the right price. That created an opening for Lacob, a Stanford product. His group swooped in and seized what Ellison couldn't.
An Oracle spokeswoman said she had no information about how much Ellison bid or what happened during the negotiations. Ellison's statement added, "I wish the Warriors and their fans nothing but success under their new ownership."
Cohan, who hired Galatioto to sell the franchise back in March, has owned the Warriors since 1995.
"As I conclude my tenure as owner of the Warriors, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincerest gratitude, and to personally say thank you to the 'best fans in all of sports,' " said Cohan, in a statement released by the team. "It's a phrase that is too often utilized by players, coaches, executives and owners in all sports leagues, but I can say without reservation and unbridled conviction that Warriors fans have earned the sole right of that honor and distinction. Thank you for making Golden State Warriors basketball the incredible fan experience that it has become."