Video: Tom Gores Introduced As New Pistons Owner

Tom Gores officially took over the Detroit Pistons earlier this week. On Thursday, he held an event at The Palace to introduce himself as the new owner.

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Report: Tom Gores Bought Pistons For $325 Million

Forbes' Mike Ozanian reports that the purchase value of the Detroit Pistons in Tom Gores' deal to buy the team was $325 million. Gores bought all of Palace Sports and Entertainment, which includes the Pistons, Palace of Auburn Hills, DTE Energy Music Theatre and the Meadow Brook Music Festival. The Pistons portion of the deal, which is expected to give Karen Davidson a minority stake in the team, is valued at $325 million.

During Thursday's introduction event, Gores was asked what he paid for the Pistons. He declined to give a specific number, however. Instead Gores simply said that the cost of the deal was somewhere "between 0 and 6."

If Forbes' number is accurate, Gores paid far less than $400 million, which is what the NBA was supposedly hoping to get for the team. Of course, the fact that Davidson is expected to retain a stake in the team could have something to do with the lower number.

In any case, considering the economy in the Detroit area isn't great and the decline in ticket sales over recent years, $325 million is still quite a bit for the Pistons. Gores will have to work to rebuild interest and value in the franchise after a rough couple of seasons.


Video: Tom Gores Introduced As Pistons Owner

On Thursday afternoon, Tom Gores, the new owner of the Detroit Pistons, was officially introduced at The Palace. Gores thanked Karen Davidson and Ethan Davidson, introduced himself and what he's all about and then answered questions from members of the media and blogosphere.

Via The Detroit News and Detroit Bad Boys, you can check out video of the entire introduction event below.

The search for a new owner of the Pistons began a year ago, and only this week did the keys to the empire officially get handed over to Gores. Now a new era of the Pistons is set to begin. The franchise can finally move forward and start making moves to build for the future. Gores will get together with Joe Dumars to make plans involving the coaching staff, offseason moves and the 2011 NBA Draft. Time is of the essence with this sale taking so long to be completed, but Gores and company seem ready to make things happen with the Pistons going forward.


Tom Gores, Pistons Finally Close On Sale

It's not October 2010, but it still feels good. The Detroit Pistons have finally been sold. After being approved by David Stern and the NBA board of governors yesterday, Tom Gores officially closed on the deal to purchase the team and take over as head honcho at The Palace of Auburn Hills for the foreseeable future [via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press]:

Detroit, meet the new owner of the Pistons. Tom Gores is now the fourth owner of the franchise that has won three NBA championships after closing a deal to purchase the team this afternoon. [ ... ]

[ ... ] Terms of the deal weren’t announced. But a person familiar with it said the agreement places a so-called enterprise value of more than $400 million on the team, the Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre. But Gores may pay closer to the $275 million-$300 million range for the assets after backing out minority ownership interests, debt and other liabilities.

The Pistons will hold a press conference tomorrow at the Palace to introduce the new owner.


NBA Board Of Governors Approves Pistons Sale

Commissioner David Stern confirmed before Game 1 of the NBA Finals between Miami and Dallas that the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved of the sale of the Detroit Pistons to the Flint native businessman Tom Gores. Gores commented on the approval through a spokesman shortly after:

“We appreciate the approval of the Board of Governors and the support of Commissioner Stern,” Gores said tonight through a spokesman. “I understand the importance of the trust that has been placed in us, and we’re very excited to be a part of something as special as the NBA. We can’t wait to make a difference in Detroit. We look forward to getting to work right away.”

The Board of Governors approval is not the final step but it is a significant one. Stern said he expects the deal to be done by the end of the week.

When Gores is finally entrenched as the owner, it will allow him to finally make some personnel decisions regarding head coach John Kuester and president of basketball operations Joe Dumars. Kuester is widely believed to be out after just two seasons as Pistons coach; he was even rumored to already have been fired over the weekend.

Dumars’ future is not as clear. Though he’s made his mistakes, he’s been handcuffed by the ownership saga and has not been able to make an significant moves, notably with disgruntled shooting guard Richard Hamilton. There’s speculation that Dumars will likely be given a second chance with the team.


Pistons Sale Should Be Finalized Soon; Karen Davidson Will Have Minority Stake

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the sale of the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores is likely to be closed by the end of the month. Soon-to-be former owner Karen Davidson is hoping that everything will be finalized in the next couple of weeks, allowing Gores to take over the franchise and Palace Sports & Entertainment.

Although Davidson is selling the team, she will retain a minority interest.

In her first significant interviews since deciding to sell the team, the Palace and Palace Sports & Entertainment, and eventually choosing the billionaire financier Tom Gores and his private equity firm as the next owner, Davidson said Wednesday she would still own part of the operation and she intends to be in attendance at games. 

"But I have seven grandchildren and another one on the way," she said, laughing. "That is where I'll be moving to be now — with my grandchildren. 

"I still fully intend to come to games and I always will be a Pistons fan," Davidson said. 

Terms of the deal still have not officially been released.


Tom Gores Reaches Agreement To Buy Detroit Pistons

The Detroit News is reporting that Tom Gores will be the new owner of the Detroit Pistons. Citing an announcement from Platinum Equity, Gores' investment firm, the News says a "definitive agreement" has been reached for him to buy the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment.

Karen Davidson, the soon-to-be previous owner of the Pistons, had this to say in a statement:

"We are pleased to welcome Tom Gores as the new owner of the Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment," Davidson said in a release. "Just as my late husband, Bill Davidson, was the face of the Pistons, I am confident that Tom will bring the same energy, dedication and love to this organization. I look forward to seeing Tom follow in Bill's footsteps, and carry on his legacy." 

The next step is for the sale to be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors, which could happen at a meeting later this month. If approved, Gores will take over the Pistons and Palace of Auburn Hills, as well as DTE Energy Music Theatre and the operating rights to the Meadow Brook Music Festival.

Currently the exact terms of the agreement (i.e. how much Gores paid to complete the sale) have not been disclosed.


Tom Wilson: Ilitch Family Still Has Interest In Buying Pistons

WXYZ (Channel 7 in Detroit) is reporting that the Ilitch family still is interested in buying the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment. The source of their report is Tom Wilson, who is the former president and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment and now works for Ilitch.

For the last two months, all signs have pointed to businessman Tom Gores becoming the owner of the Pistons. He had a month of exclusivity in the negotiations and then another two weeks after that. The most recent exclusivity period recently expired without a deal being in place, however.

Negotiations with Gores have reportedly been stuck on the price of the Pistons. The NBA apparently wants to get more than $400 million for the team, but they are not believed to be worth that much. It's unlikely that Gores, a savvy businessman, is going to overpay to complete the purchase, which is why this sale once again appears to be at a standstill.

Mike Ilitch was the original frontrunner to purchase the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment and even said back in November that a deal was getting close. Things fell apart just days later, though. Ilitch reportedly found out that revenues were inflated and lowered his bid from more than $400 million to a lower figure. Negotiations fell apart in the wake of this and Gores stepped to the lead of the pack.

It's no surprise that Ilitch still has interest in making a deal happen. The real question is if he and Karen Davidson could work out a deal. If Gores is struggling to close the deal because the NBA wants more than $400 million, I don't see how Ilitch would change his mind and go back to his original offer. Then again, there have been so many twists and turns in this story that I suppose nothing should be unexpected at this point.


Pistons Sale: Tom Gores Still Negotiating As Exclusive Period Expires

For the third time since the Detroit Pistons were put up for sale, an exclusive negotiating period has expired without a deal being in place. Mike Ilitch's exclusive negotiating period came and went with no deal, and now Tom Gores has had two negotiation periods expire.

The first time Gores got into serious negotiations to purchase the team from Karen Davidson, he received a 30-day exclusivity window. It seemed like a deal was close considering he showed up to The Palace, but the exclusivity period came to an end and a new 14 day period began as negotiations continued.

Now those 14 days have passed and no extension has been granted for the most recent exclusive negotiating period. Talks are still continuing, but The Detroit News reports that the price of the team is a big point of contention right now.

By one measure the NBA uses to establish an ideal value for its franchises, the price tag for the Pistons should be about $420 million, according to sources who have participated in sales in both the league and other professional sports. 

But why would a demonstrably astute businessman like the private equity financier Tom Gores ever pay $420 million for the team, The Palace of Auburn Hills and ancillary entertainment properties when the Ilitch family offered only about $360 million? 

The answer is: He will not.

It has seemed for a while now that a deal was imminent, but if neither side will budge on the price then talks could come to a standstill. A compromise will have to be reached, although I can't see Gores overpaying for a team that probably is nowhere near worth more than $400 million.


Detroit News: Tom Gores Hasn't Bought Pistons

And, just like that, we have yet another conflicting report as it pertains to the future ownership situation of the Detroit Pistons. Contrary to what the Detroit Free Press's sources are telling them, The Detroit News is reporting that Tom Gores has not purchased the team, yet: 

The Pistons are about to extend exclusive negotiations with the California financier Tom Gores for two weeks. The move comes after negotiations gathered steam this week.

Gores has remained in town for several days to participate in them directly. But sources close to the process told The Detroit News on Thursday there is no agreement in place to sell the team and the two sides continue to bargain on a price. 

Corroborating the News, shortly after tweeting that they received word on a tentative deal being reached, Channel 4's Devin Scillian said that Karen Davidson herself told their Bernie Smilovitz that, at the moment, no deal between Tom Gores and the Pistons was in place.

Is Karen Davidson trying to control the announcement here? Is The Free Press throwing it against the wall and hoping it sticks? The Free Press is certainly exuding confidence -- in addition to the breaking news item, they've published threeseparateTom Gores related stories in the three hours since their initial report.


Report: Tom Gores Reaches Tentative Deal To Buy Pistons

Nine months after Karen Davidson announced the Detroit Pistons were for sale, the team has finally found a new owner.

Tom Walsh of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tom Gores has reached a tentative agreement to purchase the Pistons from Davidson.


The agreement, valued at $420 million, was reached this evening, after several days of intense bargaining over details.

Details on the base selling price, the implications of a looming labor dispute in the NBA, and to what extent current ownership may stay involved with the team were said to be key points of debate. It was not immediately clear how the deal would be structured.

The sale could be announced as early as Friday, pending NBA approval. The NBA office will run its own check on the new ownership, after which commissioner David Stern makes a recommendation to the league’s current owners. Three-fourths of the team owners must approve the deal.

As Walsh points out in his article, the process can sometimes move quickly, as when Michael Jordan bought the Charlotte Bobcats. But the approval process for Mikhail Prokhorov to purchase the New Jersey Nets took eight months.

Given Gores’ presence at Tuesday night’s Pistons-Spurs game, all indications seemed to be that a sale agreement was pending. A Flint native and Michigan State graduate, he was perceived as the front-runner to buy the Pistons since August.

At one point, however, it looked as if Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch had an agreement to purchase the team. But the deal fell apart when inflated revenue numbers compelled Ilitch to lower his initial offer. By January, Gores emerged as the clear favorite to become the new owner.

Forbes magazine lists Gores’ net worth at $2.2 billion. He is the founder and chairman of Platinum Equity, a private equity investment firm that owns more than 30 companies generating more than $27 billion in sales per year.


Tom Gores Gets Exclusive 30-Day Window To Buy Pistons

The Detroit News' early morning report has been corroborated by a Detroit Free Press report this afternoon, but they've also added that Tom Gores has an exclusive window to buy the Pistons:

The Detroit Pistons have agreed this week to designate Tom Gores, a Michigan native and billionaire CEO of the Platinum Equity Group in Los Angeles, as the preferred bidder to buy the NBA team and an affiliate, Palace Sports & Entertainment, the Free Press has learned.

Gores has an exclusive 30-day period to finalize a purchase deal, people familiar with the matter said. It could happen as early as next week.

Barring a hiccup similar to what happened with Ilitch in November, when he had a 30-day window to buy the team, Gores will be the Pistons' new owner.


Forbes Blogger Claims Ilitch Upset Over Inflated Numbers blogger Mike Ozanian allegedly found out why Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch didn’t buy the Pistons last month. Ozanian said a “source close to the negotiations” gave him the lowdown on what’s going on with this ridiculous drama:

According to one person familiar with the negotiations, after agreeing to a price in excess of $400 million (my source was not more specific), Ilitch discovered the revenues presented in the prospectus were inflated. Ilitch, one of the great gentleman owners in sports, got pissed, lowered his offer price and the deal quickly blew up.

Pistons owner Karen Davidson reopened the bidding after Ilitch’s 30-day exclusive bargaining window ended last month. Nobody’s quite sure what the hell is going on now, but if this turns out true it would explain why a seemingly sure thing fell apart so quickly. According to Ozanian, the whole ordeal may end up with Davidson getting less than she’s hoping for:

But from what I am hearing it will now be hard for Davidson to get $400 million for the team given the Ilitch debacle and dismal state of Detroit’s economy.

Sit back and relax folks. This one looks like it’s gonna take awhile.


Karen Davidson Reportedly Opens Negotiations For Sale Of Pistons

Earlier this week, Mike Ilitch spoke to the media about the sale of the Detroit Pistons. Although he didn't exactly get into too much detail, he said that things were getting close, indicating a deal to buy the team would be complete soon. As it turns out, however, things may not be as close as they once appeared.

On Thursday, Sports Business Daily reported that Ilitch's exclusive negotiating period with Karen Davidson had ended and that negotiations "had bogged down over price and financing." What's more, the report stated that "previous bidders were being contacted about any ongoing interest they might have." Ilitch is still considered the front-runner in this sale, per the report, but he no longer has an exclusive negotiating agreement.

So what should we make of this news? On the surface the impression given off is that things are cooling between Davidson and Ilitch and the sale isn't moving forward. That's not necessarily what has happened, though. This could simply be a negotiating technique, which seems very possible based on The Detroit News' report on this story:

A source with knowledge of the negotiations said while the Ilitches were originally the highest bidder, they reduced the offer. Davidson and Citibank then decided to reopen the process to allow other bidders to negotiate again. 

Speculation suggests that all of this could just be part of the negotiating process as it moves forward. Ilitch reportedly lowered his offer and Davidson responded by contacting previous bidders to see if they were still interested in purchasing the team.

One of those previous bidders is Tom Gores, who attended Friday night's Pistons-Clippers game at the Staples Center. He sat next to Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who said that Gores "wants to buy the Pistons." Gores declined to comment about the sale of the Pistons, but he did say this:

Gores was asked about the status of the Pistons sale and he said: "I can't tell you anything about that, but I can tell you that I'm a big fan and would I love to own the team? Absolutely. 

"I will tell you this. I think Mike Ilitch has been great to the Detroit community. If he's able to buy the Pistons, then I'd love to be talking to Mike.  

NBA commissioner David Stern hoped that the sale of the Pistons would move toward being completed sometime this month. While this recent news could mean that things are moving backward, it could also mean that the negotiations are progressing. Much of this does seem like a negotiating technique, but I guess we will just have to wait and see how things play out.


Mike Ilitch On Pistons Sale: 'We’re Getting Close'

Mike Ilitch, the owner of the Tigers and Red Wings, spoke about the sale of the Pistons today while in Toronto for the induction of Jimmy Devellano into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Ilitch didn't discuss a whole lot about the progress of the sale, but he did say, "We're getting close." There has been speculation that the sale would move forward drastically this month, and based on Ilitch's comment today, it seems things are moving in that direction.

Ilitch was also asked about the future of the Pistons' current home, The Palace of Auburn Hills. Once again, he declined to discuss the situation in detail, but he did make it clear what his future intentions are for where the Pistons and the Red Wings will play.

When asked whether the Wings could play at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Ilitch said: "Well, I don’t want to get into all that. We’re going to build a stadium in Detroit. ... I want two teams in one building. So that’s all I can tell you." 

It seems to be only a matter of time until this sale is complete. When it is, Mike Ilitch will have control of three of Detroit's four professional sports franchises.


Report: Mike Ilitch To Buy Detroit Pistons

As soon as it was announced that the Detroit Pistons were for sale, speculation immediately pointed to Mike Ilitch as a potential buyer. Ilitch’s status as owner of the Red Wings and Tigers made him a natural choice, but the defection of former Pistons CEO Tom Wilson to Ilitch Holdings, Inc. further fueled such conjecture.

Other potential buyers were mentioned, with California businessman Tom Gores rumored to be a front-runner for a purchase, but it appears that the initial speculation may have had it right all along.

Crain’s Detroit Business is reporting that current majority owner Karen Davidson and Palace Entertainment has entered negotations with the Ilitch organization for the sale of the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment. The deal is expected to be completed within the next 30 days.

Forbes has the Pistons valued at $475 million. Bill Davidson purchased the team for $8 million back in 1974.

UPDATE: Davidson told the Detroit Free Press that the sale is "progressing very well" and expects a deal done by October 27.


Report: Tom Gores Emerging As 'Front-Runner' To Buy Pistons

Ever since Mike Ilitch made it known that he would like to purchase the Detroit Pistons, I think it's safe to say that most have simply assumed that is what would happen. After all, when Ilitch sets his sights on something, he usually gets it, and a new marriage between the Ilitches and another Detroit sports franchise just makes sense.

The problem with simply assuming that the Pistons are Ilitch's team to lose is that they aren't. In fact, according to The Detroit News, Flint-area native and Michigan State graduate Tom Gores is actually the current favorite to buy the team right now.

Flint native Tom Gores has emerged as the "front-runner" to become the Pistons' new owner, according to sources close to the situation. [...]

Gores, 46, and his group have made two visits to The Palace the past two weeks, the only interested group to do so. Gores made another visit Wednesday, but has not yet made a bid.

Gores, who owns Platinum Equity, went to Michigan State and sold computer software before moving to California to go into business with his older brother, Alec. He owns a home in Grosse Ile. According to Forbes, Gores is worth $2.2 billion, making him the 147th-richest American.

For me, I want the Pistons' new owner to be someone with local ties and someone who has a legitimate interest (and knowledge) of sports. Gores fulfills both of those things, as he grew up in this state and still has a home here, and he definitely is a sports fan based on reading the profile of him in The News' article. While I would like to see Ilitch get the team just because he has a proven track record for success, Gores doesn't seem like a bad alternate option by any means.


Mike Ilitch Interested In Buying Pistons, Moving Them To Detroit

According to the Detroit Free Press, Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has notified the Pistons that he'd like to purchase the team (which will most likely come with all of Palace Sports & Entertainment):

Sports and pizza boss Michael Ilitch said today he wants to buy the Detroit Pistons basketball team and move them to a new arena in downtown Detroit.

The following is from Ilitch himself, although it mentions nothing of moving the team (via MLIVE): 

"Marian and I grew up here, we raised our family here and we built our businesses here. Detroit is our home. When I read in the paper there was the chance that this great sports town could lose one of its professional sports franchises, I just didn't see how we could let that happen. The Pistons, just like the Red Wings, Tigers and the Lions, have a rich and storied tradition in this community and they've brought pride to fans and our community. You all know I love sports – all sports, from amateur sports to the various pro sports we've had the privilege to be involved with, and like a lot of others I'm sure, I really want to see the Pistons remain the Detroit Pistons."

"We talked about it internally and when you take our 33 years of experience in professional sports, our commitment to this community, our passion for winning and pursuing championships, and you couple that with the opportunity to have a local, engaged owner for the Pistons, we decided to take a run at it. We believe we could bring a lot to the table that could be tremendously positive for the Pistons franchise, the NBA, and the fans of this community. So, today, we formally notified the Detroit Pistons that we have interest in purchasing the team. This is a required first-step and we look forward to the opportunity to move forward in the process."

This is (should be) very exciting news for Pistons fans, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: More from Ilitch's statement is below.

“No one should get too excited just yet, because this is the first step in what could be a long process,” the Ilitch statement read. “There is a lot of due diligence to take place, and who even knows if the Pistons would accept any potential future offer.

“But I can tell you that we are serious about this, we’ll be aggressive in the process, and we’re going to take a real hard run at it because it makes sense for our organization.”

The statement added, “Whether or not we end up buying this Piston team, we remain focused on a new arena in the city of Detroit, and that will serve as a great catalyst for future economic development in the city.”

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