Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer Gets A New Role As Clippers Owner

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Steve Ballmer
Ballmer was the CEO of Microsoft for 14 years. His winning bid beat those of investors Steve Karsh and Tony Ressler as well as a group that included execs from the Guggenheim Group.

With his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers, Steve Ballmer may have found a new calling. 

Ballmer, whose personal wealth is estimated at $20.7 billion (ranking number 32 on the Forbes 400), was a famously intense leader at Microsoft, where he worked for more than 30 years. After leaving as CEO last year, he hadn't settled into a fresh role. He's a passionate sports fan who tried never to miss his son's high school basketball games. Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal he might consider coaching his son’s team.

Ballmer -- along with a group led by hedge fund investor Chris Hedges -- tried to buy the Sacramento Kings in 2013. The NBA vetoed the deal because the group wanted to move the team to Seattle.

The NBA owners could veto Ballmer's purchase of the L.A. Clippers if he intends to try to move them. But in comments he made a few weeks ago to the Journal, Ballmer said the team's value would be diminished if it left Los Angeles.

"I love basketball, and I’d love to participate at some point in the NBA. If the opportunity is outside of Seattle, so be it. I will learn about any team that comes up for sale at this point," he said.

"If I get interested in the Clippers, it would be for Los Angeles. I don’t work anymore, so I have more geographic flexibility than I did a year, year-and-a half ago. Moving them anywhere else would be value destructive."

Ballmer will become the second Microsoft co-founder to own an NBA team. Paul Allen owns the Portland Trail Blazers, as well as an NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks.

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