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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.