July 15, 2010 3:28 PM

Covington, Katten, Arent Fox on Record Setting Golden State Warriors Sale

Posted by Zach Lowe

Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan has never been very popular among die-hard fans of the basketball team, but he's making out very nicely in the sale of the franchise Thursday to two high-powered businessmen, according to CNBC. How nicely? Well, the $450 million purchase price is a record for a National Basketball Association team, and it's about $320 million more than Cohan paid for the Warriors in 1995. Forbes valued the Warriors at about $315 million less than a year ago, and previous reports from the San Jose Mercury News suggested Cohan was hoping for a final price north of $400 million. 

He got there. The lead buyers are Joe Lacob, managing partner of the private equity firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Peter Guber, chair of Mandalay Entertainment, according to CNBC and an additional source close to the matter. Covington & Burling advised Cohan on the deal. (Peter Zern and Bruce Wilson, the lead partners on the matter, did not immediately respond to request for comment.) A team from Katten Muchin Rosenman led by partner Adam Klein advised Lacob, the source tells us. It could not immediately be determined which firm Guber turned to for outside counsel in the deal. Klein did not respond to a request for comment.  

One interesting note: Lacob is a minority owner of our beloved Boston Celtics. He will have to sell his stake in the 17-time NBA champions in order to take over the Warriors, according to the Mercury News.

You may have noticed we didn't mention Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who was widely considered the favorite to buy the team. Ellison is worth an estimated $28 billion, and his appetite for the biggest and most expensive toys is legendary. Ellison was a bidder, and our source tells us Arent Fox partner Richard Brand advised Ellison on the Warriors talks. (Brand declined to comment.) Ellison's interest in the Warriors apparently had its limits, though, and we'd guess those limits equal about $450 million.

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