Memphis Grizzlies Owner Won’t Sell to Anyone Looking to Move Team

by March 30, 2012
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Michael Heisley isn’t opposed to selling the Grizzlies, but he says that it won’t happen if the buyer’s intention is to move the team away from Memphis. From the Commercial Appeal: “In addition to proving financial wherewithal up front, a potential suitor must bring a substantial down payment before entering into a purchasing agreement. Also, any talk about trying to relocate the Grizzlies before 2021 is, in Heisley’s view, a deal breaker because of a lease that binds the team to Memphis and FedExForum until at least that year. So it’s no wonder that Heisley instructed his attorney, Stan Meadows, to stop negotiating with California billionaire Larry Ellison. The Oracle founder and third-richest American, who recently signed a confidentiality agreement with Heisley and began an exploratory process to buy the Grizzlies, has the financial wherewithal. But Heisley said Thursday that Ellison’s representatives made repeated overtures about moving the Grizzlies. ‘We’re not even considering Ellison,’ Heisley said. ‘This team cannot be moved.’ Heisley is asking $350 million for the Grizzlies and says he makes it clear with potential buyers that the team’s arena lease with the city and county is rigid. There are several clauses and financial penalties that make it a daunting task to move the Grizzlies before 2021.”