Ex-Microsoft CEO buys LA Clippers for $2.5 billion
Steve Ballmer, the man who succeeded Bill Gates at Microsoft, is buying the Los Angeles Clippers for a record US$2 billion ($2.5 billion).
The former Microsoft chief executive's bid for the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise was accepted by sole trustee Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of banned owner Donald Sterling.
Mr Sterling, who bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5m, was banned for life by the NBA over racist comments he made to his girlfriend.
He can still oppose the sale.
Mrs Sterling announced the deal and released a statement, saying: "I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner.
"We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise.
"I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."
Two other bids
Mr Ballmer, who left his post as Microsoft CEO in February, outbid two other suitors, including a consortium that had television personality Oprah Winfrey among its backers.
He said: "I will be honoured to have my name submitted to the NBA Board of Governors for approval as the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I love basketball and I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win – and win big – in Los Angeles."
Sources: AFP, Reuters