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Kings Minority Owner Mum on Competing Bid for Team



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sacramento Kings Minority owner John Kehriotis was asked Tuesday afternoon about producing a competing bid for the team and using the minority owners' right of first refusal, he said, "Maybe in a few days.  I can't comment at all at this point.  I wish I could." 

Kehriotis currently owns about twelve percent of the team.  If he can come up with the money needed to match a bid -reported to be $340 million- made by a group of Seattle investors for the team's majority shares, then he might be able to legally leapfrog other bidders.  Part of the existing ownership agreement says the Maloof Family- the managing general partners of the Kings- must give the minority owners a chance to buy control of the team if it's put up for sale. 

The fact the Maloof family has not extended that option to the minority owners has been brought up by attorneys for the trustee of Bob Cook's estate in bankruptcy proceedings.  Cook owned seven percent of the team, but lost it when he put it up for collateral on a loan he couldn't pay back.  Attorneys in the case have brought up the right of first refusal in court, but there has been no decision made by a judge.

Any increase in the number of bidders is good news for the trustee of Cook's estate.  The trustee's attorney, Don Fitzgerald told a U.S. District Court judge Tuesday the efforts to market the Kings portion of the Cook estate were akin to "a water polo game, "calm on the surface, but there's a lot going on underneath." 

Cook's personal attorney, Daniel Weiss says simple math might indicate Cook's shares are worth more than $36 million, but because the shares come with no real control over the team or even game tickets, he believes the shares would be worth only about $7 million.

The creditors and attorneys in the Cook case are scheduled to return to court in late March, but the trustee's attorneys say they could return much sooner than that.

Fitzgerald also told the judge Cook's shares could be put up for auction earlier than the April 9th date previously proposed. 

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he will announce an agreement on March 1st or before with a prospective ownership group that he will take before the NBA Board of Governors in mid-April.

Tonight, the City Council considers a motion to set guidelines for the City moving forward with arena construction negotiations and a resolution authorizing the City Manager to spend $150,000 on arena experts and attorneys fees.

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