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So yesterday afternoon while perusing the internet, I see a story that the Memphis Grizzlies have been sold. It was not totally unexpected but still a little shocking to see. I have never heard of Robert Pera. I have never heard of his company, Ubiquiti. I have no knowledge of his dealings or his way of doing business. The initial reports came back that he is 34 years old and a technology “magnate”, whatever that is, who lives in Northern California and Taiwan. So after a day of reading media and listening to Memphis sports talk radio on the internet, I have some thoughts on the matter at hand. There are still more questions than answers as Pera seems to be quite the mysterious figure, but heeeerrre we go…

Mark Cuban?

My first thoughts when hearing that Pera was 34 years old was that he could be the second coming of Mark Cuban. Although Cuban was almost a decade older when he bought the Mavericks and had just got a cash infusion of $5.9 billion from Yahoo from selling his company, the thought of having a young energetic owner intrigues me. Could Pera could be just what Memphis needs in an owner?  Will he be someone who will spend money wildly to bring in talent? Will he be someone who will be visible to the media? Will he be a “character” with colorful language and snippets a la Jery Jones? Will he somehow find a way to attend games in Memphis? We don’t know the answers to these questions. The only person who can answer these questions right now is Robert Pera and the only thing I have seen from him is a statement saying he’s happy to be the new owner. Financially, he doesn’t appear to be as well off as Cuban was when he bought the Mavericks. Cuban had just received $5.9 billion in Yahoo stock after selling his company Broadcast.com. He’s younger than Cuban so in some ways you almost want to see another 5 years or so of seasoning and financial stability.

Brian Davis?

After doing research on the internet and doing Google searches for “Robert Pera” and “Ubiquiti”, you see that there is a lot written about his finances and the state of the company. This obviously brings back images of Brian Davis and Christian Laettner attempting to purchase the Grizzlies a few years ago. Laettner and Davis were relying on real estate investments, future real estate investments and other venture to get enough collateral to finance the purchase for the Grizz. Obviously betting on real estate values increasing was not a smart bet. In the case of Robert Pera, I say he is a little more financially stable than the Davis and Laettner group but there is a big unknown. Is Pera purchasing this team by himself? Is there a group? Is he selling stock to finance the purchase? Is he making a onetime payment or financing the team over a period of years? Late last year when Pera’s company went public, he was worth close to $2 billion on paper. I’ve seen as high as $2.1 billion and as low as $1.6 billion. There have been some recent scandals with his company and his company’s value has dropped tremendously, less than a year after the IPO and his net worth is now estimated to be anywhere from $600 million to a little under $1 billion. What’s the true value? Who knows? What I do know is that the NBA has to approve this sale and they will go through his financers with a fine tooth comb, much more than I ever could. So if the NBA approves the sale, I will assume his finances are just fine.

Conclusion

In summary, my take on Pera is a big fat “I don’t know”. I truthfully and honestly do not know what to think.  For now, I will keep an optimistic point of view, I will hope that the sale goes through and I will hope that Pera is a great owner while still cheering on my hometown Grizzlies.

He Gave Us Something To Talk About….

Finally, I want to thank and in some ways congratulate Michael Heisley. Heisley had no ties to Memphis when he decided to relocate the team to Memphis from Vancouver. He had no obligation to do that. Sure there were bad times but there were also good times. I think Heisley has brought the Memphis community together by bringing the Grzzlies to town. The new car smell wore off and then he brought in Jerry West. The playoff runs of the mid-2000’s were thrilling while frustrating at the same time but it brought people together.  The rebuilding may have been even more frustrating but it had people talking. The playoff run from the 2010-2011 season was nothing short of a miracle. Many people forget that this year’s team actually had the highest winning percentage in franchise history despite losing to the Clippers in the first round.  The team has made the playoffs 5 years out of the 11 years that the team has been in the Mid-South.  Heisley was an excellent corporate citizen in the Memphis community through his many financial contributions and endeavors such as the Grizzlies House and now the Grizzlies Charter School . I wish him nothing but the best of health and luck in the future. I didn’t always agree with his methods, but he maintained his method to his own madness. Many complained about Heisley and few praised him but I’ll tell you what, Bonnie Raitt would be proud, because he gave us something to talk about.

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21 Responses to Robert Pera: Brian Davis or Mark Cuban… More Questions than Answers

  1. CCNo Gravatar says:

    Good article man…Pera sounds kind of enigmatic,but I too am thinking/feeling positive!
    Cool that you are A Rangers fan…me too.
    GRIZZ !!!

  2. Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

    Comparing Robert Pera to Mark Cuban is an impossible task, excepting the fact that they both have Jewish backgrounds. Robert is as low key as Mark is flamboyant, he generally keeps his emotions in check. Robert is a very smart guy, a brilliant engineer, and an extremely savvy business man. His passion has always been basketball particularly the NBA brand. He played in high school, & still plays in pick-up games 2 or 3 times per week.

    • theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Larry, being that you are related to Mr Pera, how about some kind of scoop? Just basic stuff like who are involved in his group that’s buying the Grizzlies, why he first tried to buy the Bobcats and Kings before the Grizzlies, his long term ideas for the team, etc…

      • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

        I happen to be Robert’s father, however we’re currently estranged & don’t communicate much. I can tell you that Robert is a man of conviction & high moral & ethical standards. If he claims his intention is to keep the team in Memphis, it will be; so long as the Memphis fans support the team. He’s also a man that thinks outside the box, that’s largely what made him successful; it’s a quality that should translate into further building the team into a formidable contender.

        • theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

          Well Larry, estranged or not, get your butt down here for the opening game. It will be a grand time. If I’m still around in November and you need any help with arrangements, I’d be happy to help. My wife and I are in agreement that the best times to be had in Memphis are at a Grizzlies game. You won’t regret it.

          • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

            Thanks for the kind invitation. Fact is, I lived just up the river from you in St. Louis, that’s where Robert was born. Love midwestern people & though I spent very little time in Memphis, I’ve known several people from there. If Robert & I ever kiss & makeup, I will definitely want to see some games. In fact, I believe I’ve already become a Grizzly fan.

  3. Chris FaulknerNo Gravatar says:

    Great write up man, although I’m never really thrilled to see an editorial conclude with “I don’t know.” BTW a “magnate” = mogul, tycoon, czar … just someone that’s very successful in their field of business.

    Personally, I feel very good vibes from this change in ownership. Pera’s youth will work in our advantage when you consider how Heisley’s age started working against his.

  4. theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t know either. For a guy that is described as a basketball fanatic, he seems as excited as a postal clerk that just sold a stamp.

    • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

      Robert didn’t achieve his success by acting like your perception of a “postal clerk”

      • theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

        Evidently you missed the point. Usually when someone begins the process of buying a NBA team they talk to the local press. They often speak of the direction they envision for the team, scattered with the usual cliches, and then answer a few questions. Mr Pera’s very short press release is just the opposite of what any fan would expect or hope for from a possible new owner that is a self described basketball fan and who’s company is involved in the communication field.

        • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

          I don’t expect Robert to have a whole lot to talk about until the deal is done. Right now it’s still Mr. Heisley’s team, and I believe Robert is respecting that. Robert is not one to talk a lot of fluff,but when the deal is finally done, I’m sure he’ll have some very definitive comments. Know this, he did not enter into this deal as an investment opportunity, he truly loves the game of basketball, and I believe he will become one of the most respected owners in the league.

  5. OinkyNo Gravatar says:

    this deal is dead: – The Memphis Grizzlies’ sale to Robert J. Pera, announced this past week, is already in serious trouble, according to league sources. Pera owns Ubiquiti Networks, a Silicon Valley communications technology company. When its stock bottomed out in the last two weeks, his net worth plummeted from $1 billion to $200 million, according to league insiders who say that unless he has some wealthy partners lined up to help him finance the sale, it will likely fall through. In that case, the Grizzlies will continue to be owned by Michael Heisley. Pera agreed to buy the team for $350 million, a figure that raised many eyebrows around the league.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/nba-bitter-lockout-ends-lebron-james-kevin-durant-finals-article-1.1097006#ixzz1y4AnRyEQ

    • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

      If you’re going to throw around numbers, you should vet your sources. I’d love to know where they get their numbers. Robert Pera owns almost 60 million shares of Ubiquiti stock, if you do the math that translates into considerably more than your idiot sources have computed, even at today’s depressed stock prices, & that doesn’t even take into account his assets outside of Ubiquiti.

      • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

        By the way, I should have mentioned, this is all public information that anybody can gleam from required SEC filings.

        • OinkyNo Gravatar says:

          Larry look at the chart! He has 60 million shares of NASDAQ’s version of the Titanic. That garbage will be under 10 bucks by the 4th of July.

          • Larry GoldfieldNo Gravatar says:

            I can tell you’re a person that knows their way around a balance sheet.

            Ubiquiti has never failed to make substantial profits, even including the first year of it’s existence. Their revenues for fiscal 2012 ending this month will well exceed $300 million, with net profits in the 25% range. They are in a huge cash position, and are leaders in their marketplace for wireless networking products. The stock is currently way undervalued. I would suggest doing a little research before making these ridiculous statements.

      • oinkyNo Gravatar says:

        as usual I was right

  6. ChipNo Gravatar says:

    For those wondering UBNT is now trading just short of $14.00 a share and at the current price gives Mr. Pera somewhere in the neighborhood of $835 million in that stock alone.

  7. thomNo Gravatar says:

    how refreshing to have a very cool and informed dad chip in… how did he get from goldfield to pera?

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