It has been three and a half months since we first heard that Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley had reached an agreement to sell the franchise to communications technology magnate Robert Pera. Despite the delay in finalizing the transaction, Heisley tells Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal that he remains confident the sale will be completed.
"I don't think it's dragging on," Heisley said. "Putting together the financing involving hundreds of millions of dollars is always a complex process. The banking industry is a lot more cautious and it takes a little longer than it did in the past. But I have no reason to believe that it won't go forward."
Sources familiar with the situation tell Tillery that the deal will not close in September, but is expected to be finalized at some point next month. Once Pera satisfies the terms of the contract, the NBA's Board of Governors, which meets on October 25th, must approve the transaction.
Pera has worked to put together a group of local investors that will account for roughly 30-35% of the team's ownership, assuming the deal is approved, and Heisley praised the prospective owner's efforts to include the Memphis community.
"I'm tremendously pleased," Heisley said. "I've always said since I first got here that the more that people from Memphis are involved the better this situation is. There's more (Memphians) involved than when I put it together and that's good. I'm sure they'll find Pera a great guy to work with."