LA Clippers Sale to Microsoft Chief Ballmer to Be Finalised after Judge Approves Deal

July 29, 2014

The sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion has been approved by a California judge, ruling that controversial owner Donald Sterling could not block the move.

The decision from California Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas came at the end of a three-week trial pitting the 80-year-old Sterling – barred from the National Basketball Association for life for making racist remarks – against his estranged wife Shelly, who made the deal with Ballmer.

Donald Sterling had challenged his wife’s authority to sell the NBA franchise.

Shelly Sterling negotiated the deal on behalf of the family trust, after Donald Sterling’s position as co-trustee was terminated when two medical experts declared him mentally incompetent to handle trust affairs.

In April, recordings of Sterling making racist comments to his would-be girlfriend led NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ban him for life from the sport and launch proceedings to strip him of the team.

Shelly Sterling hugged her lawyer and wept after the judge explained his ruling from the bench.

“I can’t believe it’s over,” she said. “This is the best thing.”

The NBA welcomed the decision and said it hoped to finalise the sale swiftly.

“We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer,” the NBA said in a statement.

“We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible.”

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