I touched on Tom Gores and his business background in my feature of the four potential Pistons buyers back in August, but I'll provide a little more detail from Crain's Detroit Business.
Gores is an Israeli-born immigrant, who graduated from Michigan State in 1968 with a construction management degree. He is now the chairman and CEO of a California-based private-equity investment firm, Platinum Equity LLC. He is listed in Forbes as the 147th richest-American at $2.2 billion and his company is reported to bring in anywhere from $8-12 billion annually in revenue.
He has made hundreds of successful business deals worldwide and is always looking for his next quality investment. He's a shrewd businessman, but his desire to buy the Pistons isn't solely business:
"I grew up (in Michigan). I love living in L.A.; but at the heart of it, I'm a Michigan man at the end of the day," he said.
Gores bid to buy the Pistons isn't the first time he's been interested in a pro sports franchise, though:
Platinum signed a nonbinding agreement in October 2008 with the Arena Football League to invest $100 million to buy 40 percent of the league, but the firm pulled out when the due-diligence process revealed heavier than expected operating losses.
Gores is probably best known in Michigan for his failed bid to purchase the bankrupt Delphi. In the end, Gores was turned down because the former GM parts unit felt they were being undervalued:
"It was a big disappointment for me. We put our heart and soul into it for about three years," Gores said. "(But) I sleep better at night knowing we were a very positive influence on the situation. We woke (the creditors) up and they said, "Geez, we should have been the owner.' "
In 2009, Mergers and Acquisitions Journal magazine made Gores a cover boy as a "Pro of the Year."
And being on the cover of a magazine is somewhat fitting of Gores, who is very stylish and his perma-cocked head in all his professional shots is already garnering a lot of talk over at Detroit Bad Boys.
If Gores is in fact the Pistons' next owner, he'll not only be one of the "cooler" owners, but he also plans to be very active. But not quite Mark Cuban active:
If he becomes the Pistons' owner, Gores said his style would be hands-on, but not to the point of a Mark Cuban, the brashly outspoken (and often-fined) owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
"I'm not looking to be a Mark Cuban. Let's say active, but not that active," Gores said during a telephone interview with Crain's.
A hands-on owner with Gores' CV is something Pistons fans can get legitimately excited about. Gores demands success and he's proved he can achieve it. If the team is going to be sold soon before the season starts, as Mrs. Davidson intends, one has to believe that Gores is the front-runner. After all, it was reported over a month ago that's exactly what he is. We'll know soon enough.