Prospective Grizzlies owner Robert Pera has reached an agreement with local investors that will likely keep the team in Memphis for at least the next 15 seasons, report Geoff Calkins and Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
The partners will account for between 30% and 35% of the team's ownership. As part of the deal to bring them aboard, Pera has agreed to give them the right to match any offer Pera receives for his majority stake. The local investors will also be able to buy out Pera's share at its current worth if he wants to move the team, or force Pera to pay a $100MM penalty.
The locals include J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, Staley Cates, Ed Dobbs, Duncan Williams and Billy Orgel. Others are expected to join them. Some have been part of a minority ownership group with current owner Michael Heisley, but that group's share of the team has dropped from 30% to 2% in recent years.
Pera agreed to purchase the team from Heisley in June, but the falling stock of Pera's Ubiquiti Networks has called into question his ability to meet the $350MM purchase price. Pera said in July he was looking for local partners, though he insisted finances weren't the reason. The NBA is vetting Pera's bid as it awaits approval from the Board of Governors. Heisley made it clear that Pera, who lives in northern California, was unlikely to move the team upon buying it, but the addition of the local minority investors and the terms of their involvement solidifies the notion that the Grizzlies aren't going anywhere soon.