The National Basketball Association is coming back
to Seattle thanks to a native son made good in hedge fund
A group of investors led by Valiant Capital
Management founder Chris Hansen is in a deal to buy the
Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family for $525 million,
according to the Associated Press and other media reports.
Hansen grew up in Seattle and now manages
long/short equity firm Valiant in San Francisco, which runs
$2.5 billion in hedge fund assets, according to the latest
Absolute Return Billion Dollar Club ranking.
The sale and move must be approved by the NBA, but
Hansen has already prepared to build a new $490 million stadium
via a public-private partnership. As Absolute
Return previously noted, Hansen personally guaranteed
five years of debt payments on the arena in return for various
loan backings and city approvals. The Seattle
Times asked one city council member if there was anything
the city wanted, but didn't get from Hansen, and the man
responded, "Nothing. We got it all."
Kings fans and Sacramento officials aside, the
parties in the deal were happy Monday.
"We are happy to announce that we have entered into
a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling
interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise," Hansen said in
a statement. "We would just like to extend our sincerest
compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family. Our
negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor
and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be
great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and
The Maloofs echoed the praise for Hansen. "We have
always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and
have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members.
We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his
professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great
steward for the franchise,'' Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said
in a statement.
The SuperSonics left Seattle for Oklahoma City in
2008, becoming the Thunder. The Hansen ownership group also
includes Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and members of
the Nordstrom department store family.
See also: Valiant Capital founder Chris Hansen:
Free beer for Seattle arena deal