Hedge fund manager Christopher R. Hansen is closer to achieving his dream of bringing NBA basketball back to his hometown, Seattle, which lost the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City in 2008.
Mr. Hansen led an investor group that bought the Sacramento Kings for a reported $525 million, a National Basketball Association record.
“We've entered a binding agreement with the Maloof (family) to purchase a controlling interest of the Sacramento Kings,” Mr. Hansen said in a statement.
Mr. Hansen said he couldn't discuss details of the sale “or our plans for the franchise.” Sources said the team's move to Seattle should be in time for the 2013-2014 season. The NBA said it had received the sale agreement, which must be approved by its board of governors. That might take several months.
The team likely will be renamed the Seattle SuperSonics and will play at the city's existing KeyArena until Mr. Hansen and his group have a new arena built. The Seattle City Council has already approved the new arena.
Mr. Hansen is the founder and president of Valiant Capital Management LP, San Francisco, which manages about $3.3 billion in hedge fund strategies, according to its latest ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise,” co-owner Gavin Maloof said in a statement. The Maloof family has owned the Kings since 1999.
This article originally appeared in the February 4, 2013 print issue as, "Manager trying to bring SuperSonics back to Seattle".