No Gravatar

Robert Pera is having troubles — not the least of which is his prospective bid to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies.

However, it has been made clear to 3 Shades of Blue (edit: from a source with inside knowledge) that – despite the attack on his company’s stock price – Robert Pera does have outside assets, both personally and externally, sufficient to close the deal for the team.

Some of those external assets could be coming from the Memphis area. The Commercial Appeal reported today that Pera has extended his hand to local businessmen to purchase up to 1/3rd of the team. That would be a greater ownership percentage than the locals ever had with Michael Heisley although still below the amount originally discussed when Heisley was negotiating to move the team from Vancouver.

That is not to say that the Pera has made a deal with the local ownership group however. They are only negotiating and it appears one of the major points — outside of the price tag which is very large — is the need for a commitment from Pera to Memphis.

Sources have told 3 Shades of Blue that the local group will welcome Mr. Pera with open arms and embrace his ownership bid conditional on his extending the lease and making a written commitment to Memphis.

If Pera balks at such commitments, then things could get uncomfortable.

It wasn’t made clear what uncomfortable actually means but — as Mr. Heisley discovered — to be successful in Memphis you need to appease the network of business owners and businessmen in the city. As the old saying goes “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” How Pera sweetens his offer to purchase the team will go a long way in seeing how many fans he catches.

Memphians love the fact that Memphis has a major league team, but are leery at the lack of local ownership. It wasn’t that long ago that Memphis was used by the NFL as a stop gap city while Nashville was building a stadium for the Titans. Going further back many Memphians remember the teams that have come and gone and the repeated rejections from the NFL in their attempt to bring a franchise home.

That leeriness has created a perception around the country that Memphis isn’t large enough to support a team. That could still be the case. No one knows just how much more the city could support the franchise but not having local ownership has given locals the easy excuse not to attend games. Extending the lease and increasing the local ownership group’s stake would go a long way to alleviating those concerns.

Share →

16 Responses to Grizzlies Bid Still in Works Despite Stock Slide

  1. SmittyNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve got to believe since Pera reached out to the locals that he’d be receptive to whatever it takes to make the Memphis Grizzlies a Memphis success.

  2. Memphis81No Gravatar says:

    Can someone please explain to me why Fred Smith hasn’t bought this team yet?!? You’d think it’d be a no-brainer or am I just missing something?

  3. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    Good reporting, Chip. Its good to know that Pera’s still got the funds despite losing over $300M in one month. But it begs the question:

    Should Griz fans WANT the sale to go through to a guy who’s lost that kind of net-worth in such a short period of time?

    Considering Pera came out of nowhere, made his money very quickly, and that his company has suffered nothing but bad news since it came onto our collective radar, one has to wonder if the guy we hoped we be a Memphis Mark Cuban, might really end up being a Memphis Joe Maloof.

    I appreciate the reasons Mr. Heisley wants to sell the team and respect his right to do so, but if Ubiquity’s recent bad luck is really not bad luck but the Market correcting for fundamental problems, the Griz will be better off having the deal fall through now rather than have it squeek by, only to have Pera go the way of (former Hornets owner) George Shinn.

    If the former happens, a bunch of troll websites make fun of the Griz for 48 hours and Heisley (eventually) finds a new owner (perhaps truly local now that they realize he’s serious). If the latter happens we’ll get to wake up to headlines like “Marc Gasol traded to [TEAM] for Expiring Contract X, and cash considerations” or “Stern vetoes Rondo/Gay trade” (as extreme examples).

    The team might be better off if the league were to scuttle this bid.

  4. Andy WatersNo Gravatar says:

    Fred Smith hasn’t bought the team yet because it’s a bad investment. All NBA franchises are right now…

    And Chris, your relentless pessimism tickles me. This guy made a $10 million dollar down payment on the Grizzlies. This is chump change to him. People don’t buy NBA teams before their paycheck processes.

    • ChrisNo Gravatar says:

      No, but they CAN have problems processing paychecks AFTER the team is bought (see McCourt, Frank).

      If Forbes is to be believed, Robert Pera has lost just shy of $1 Billion dollars of net worth since March and now has a net worth of about $500M. If he purchases 67% of the Griz for $235M (2/3 of the announced $350M sell price) he’ll have 47% of his net worth tied up in a basketball franchise that is a money loser (as all but a handful are).

      NONE of this is chump change and if you think an owner having a net-worth drain of this magnitude isn’t a problem that can spill over into day-to-day operations then you haven’t been paying attention to professional sports for the past 4 years.

  5. theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

    You write “it has been made clear to 3 Shades of Blue that…”, and “Sources have told 3 Shades of Blue…” Ok, was it an NBA insider, someone from the Grizzlies front office, the fellow next to you at the bar, or just that little voice you sometimes hear? You allude to a source yet do not actually confirm one, even in the most general way.
    My sources tell me that Pera and his company have lost over 75% of their net worth in less than 4 months, has yet to get spanked by Uncle Sam for illegal dealings with Iran, has had his main product counterfeited (good luck getting China to stop doing that), and has his company buying up $100 million worth of their own stock. Not exactly the model of stability I believe the NBA wants from their prospective owners. Pera might be a good owner someday and I wish him the best, but right now he looks like a train wreck.

    • Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

      It was an insider to the negotiations between Pera’s group and the locals. if I say who it was it may jeopardize the negotiations and would end a valuable relationship I have taken time developing.

      I would normally sit on something like this but since the CA reported most of the story earlier without quoting their source I felt it was appropriate to tell the full story despite not naming my source.

  6. Neo-realistNo Gravatar says:

    Agree with GrizzFan, the way this post is written reflects the worst in sports writing. There is no clear sourcing and therefore no credibility to what is written. I think if you want the blog to be taken seriously, you need to identify your source (maybe not by name but at least by position and what their credibility is). And not use passive voice so much.
    I do suspect that the post is correct, and that Pera does have external (non-Memphis based) investors in his group that are backing up his bid to but the Grizzlies.

    • Chip CrainNo Gravatar says:

      I am only clarifying and elaborating on the CA story. They also faed to name their source.

      Wod you prefer not to know this since the source wodnt go public with his name or title? I felt Grizzlies fans wod like to know so I posted the blog.

      • theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

        You totally missed the point Chip. Had you wrote that an insider involved with the local negotiations has informed you…, you would have cited a source without naming them, giving the story the credibility that it lacks. It’s the old “a little bird told me” vs “a knowledgeable insider involved with negotiations told me”. Try to be objective and not defensive.

        • Red ColemanNo Gravatar says:

          While we try to handle ourselves to the same standards (if not even higher) as actual journalists, we occasionally fail to write things as clearly or fully as we would like due to our attempts to get things out in a timely fashion for our readers. As Chip stated, whether we gave a notion to our source or not, this was just providing more information on a story that the CA had already reported on.

          Regarding the issue of “sources” and “credibility” — I started this blog over 5 years ago and we have never once had to post a retraction or offer an apology due to having written something without having something to back it up, whether we indicated that or not. If Chip or myself writes something that involves “inside information”, chances are pretty good we have a knowledgeable, credible source helping us out. Fans of this website should know that be now without us having to explicitly state it. We don’t post rumors without calling them such, and we never post anything that “a little bird told us”. And that isn’t being defensive — that’s just stating the facts.

          • theGrizzFanNo Gravatar says:

            Wrong Red. It is being defensive, and rather arrogant. Chip stated “the facts” in his first reply when he finally stated a source; “It was an insider to the negotiations between Pera’s group and the locals.” That was it. Right there. He then continued on “if I say who it was…” It was not asked or expected of him to name a specific person, only to cite a source. No one questioned the integrity of the story. The replies from you and Chip should have ended after the first sentance of his first reply, followed by something like “thanks for pointing that out guys”, or “there’s your stinking source”. The source was known and should have been included in the story. That’s all. Journalism 101. For both of you to respond in the manner that you did because a couple of readers asked for a source (not an individual) to be cited, was a bit too much.

      • Neo-realistNo Gravatar says:

        No, thanks for the post, it is valuable. My comment was about the way the post was written not the content of it

  7. JoeMNo Gravatar says:

    I got your back Chip, thanks for the story. To me, this means more Memphis-based ownership, which means more likelihood the team stays through 2021. Isn’t that what we all want anyway?

  8. oinkyNo Gravatar says:

    yeah and me and my buddies at the smokehouse are gonna pool together our pull tabs and buy the Titans next week. go home Robert, go home.

  9. new_skool91No Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the post!

Leave a Reply