Ballmer Signs $2bn Deal To Buy LA Clippers
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has won the bidding war for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers franchise with a $2bn (£1.2bn) offer.
If approved by the NBA, it would be a record deal for a basketball team.
The agreement between Mr Ballmer and the Sterling Family Trust was reached on Thursday night.
"I love basketball. And I intend to do everything in my power to ensure that the Clippers continue to win - and win big - in Los Angeles," Mr Ballmer said in a statement.
"LA is one of the world's great cities - a city that embraces inclusiveness, in exactly the same way that the NBA and I embrace inclusiveness."
Mr Ballmer outbid two groups.
One, led by media mogul David Geffen, offered $1.6bn (£955m) and included TV talk show star Oprah Winfrey and Oracle Corp CEO Larry Ellison.
The other bid was put forth by a group of Los Angeles investors who offered $1.2bn (£717m).
The Clippers came up for sale after the National Basketball Association banned owner Donald Sterling for life because of racist remarks he made in a recorded conversation that was leaked last month to entertainment news website TMZ.com.
The remarks included Sterling telling girlfriend V Stiviano not to bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
Mr Sterling, who has vowed to fight the NBA's punishment, insists he is not a racist and says his statements were made during an argument and were recorded illegally.
He has authorised his estranged wife Shelly, a co-owner of the team, to review the bids.
The former Microsoft executive made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home on Sunday and laid out his plan.
Mr Ballmer's winning bid was raised from an initial $1.8bn (£1bn) offer made earlier in the day.
If approved by Sterling and the NBA, the deal would be second only to the $2.1bn (£1.2bn) paid in 2012 for baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers.
Johnson lauded the deal on his Twitter account: "Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!"