Pistons sale to Tom Gores officially done
Investor Tom Gores is officially the owner of the Detroit Pistons.
The team said the sale of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Pistons to Gores and his investment firm, Platinum Equity, was formally completed Wednesday, one day after NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league's Board of Governors had approved Gores' purchase of the franchise.
Gores takes over following a drawn-out sale by owner Karen Davidson that stretched back before the season. The team announced in April that Gores had agreed to buy the Pistons.
"I am very excited at the opportunity to lead this great franchise into the future," Gores said in a statement Wednesday. "The passion and commitment of Pistons fans is legendary, and our goal is to meet every one of their expectations. That starts with the hard work and values necessary to compete for championships. It also includes being a real partner in the community, and we intend to do that as well."
Gores figures to have a busy first month in charge. The Pistons have missed the playoffs two straight seasons, and coach John Kuester's future is very much in doubt.
Karen Davidson transferred control to Gores after nearly 37 years of ownership by the Davidson family. Bill Davidson, her husband, became the club's majority owner in 1974. He died in 2009.
"Throughout this process, my goal was to find the right owner to lead Palace Sports and Entertainment into the future and I am certain that Tom Gores is that person," Davidson said. "He is an astute businessman, works hard and will bring a passion to this organization -- that same passion that Bill had for so many years."
Gores is the chairman and CEO of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Platinum Equity. He founded Platinum Equity in 1995, and in its 2010 list of the 400 richest people in America, Forbes put him in a tie for 153rd with a net worth of $2.4 billion. The 46-year-old Gores is a Flint native and has a degree from Michigan State University. He lives in California with his wife and three children.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Davidson family and what has been built here. Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons have enjoyed a great tradition of success and have been committed to being a positive influence in the community," Gores said. "Our mission is to continue that legacy and do it the right way."
Terms of the sale weren't announced. Michael Layne, a spokesman for Karen Davidson, said her family is expected to retain a minority stake.
Detroit won its third NBA championship in 2004, part of a six-year streak in which the team reached at least the conference finals, but the Pistons went 27-55 in 2009-10 and 30-52 this past season. Empty seats were common at home games, and that, coupled with feuding between coaches and players, only added to a sense of gloom.
Shortly after agreeing to buy the team, Gores showed up to watch Detroit's home finale. The Pistons lost to lowly Cleveland, and forward Charlie Villanueva was ejected following a fourth-quarter scuffle.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press