The Golden State Warriors announced Monday that they have hired a sports advisory and finance firm to conduct a sale of the team, which has the third-worst record in the National Basketball Association this season.
In a brief news release, the team said New York-based Galatioto Sports Partners will act as its exclusive financial adviser and manage all aspects of the sales process.
"Neither the Warriors nor GSP anticipate making any further public comments regarding the sales process until and unless a definitive agreement or a transaction is reached," the release stated.
A news report yesterday by John Lombard in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal indicated that Larry Ellison, whose Oracle Corp. is headquartered on the Peninsula and has facilities in Pleasanton, could be a prospective buyer of the team.
Ellison said in January that he wants to buy the Warriors but couldn't because the team wasn't available. That barrier no longer exists after Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan retained Galatioto to sell the franchise.
Oracle already has naming rights on the Warrior's home court, Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors have been owned by Cohan since 1995. The team has made the playoffs only once under his ownership.
In their news release, the Warriors said that despite their poor record they are "a premier NBA franchise" and have the fifth-largest market in the NBA.
GSP was established in early 2005 by Salvator Galatioto, former managing director and head of the sports advisory group for Lehman Brothers. The firm's vice chairman is Russ Granik, who was previously the NBA's deputy commissioner and chief operating officer. Galatioto declined to comment on the sale process Monday except to confirm that his firm is participating.
GSP was involved in the recent sale of the Charlotte Bobcats to former basketball superstar Michael Jordan.
In his report, Lombard pointed out that while the offering memorandum won't be completed for a few weeks, experts said the Warriors, playing in one of the NBA's largest and most demographically attractive markets, may attract enough bidders to drive up the price despite the lingering recession and the team's poor on-court performance.
"Recent NBA team sales cannot be considered robust deals," Lombard stated. "The Charlotte Bobcats just sold for roughly $275 million, less than the $300 million Bob Johnson paid for the expansion team in 2003. But the Warriors' price could surpass the NBA-record $401 million sale of the Phoenix Suns to Robert Sarver in 2004"
According to Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp Ltd., the Warriors team has the potential to go over $400 million if there is a bidding war.
The 19,596-seat Oracle Arena is owned by an Oakland-Alameda County joint partnership, which renovated the facility in 1997. The partnership has a lease agreement from the Warriors committing the team to playing in the arena through the 2016-17 season.