NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Just days before National Basketball Association team owners were set to vote to force Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team, Sterling's wife, Shelly, said late Thursday that she had sold the franchise to former Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) CEO Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion.
Ballmer, who is known for his boisterous speeches at Microsoft developer conferences, reportedly beat out two serious bidders, one led by media mogul David Geffen which offered $1.6 billion and also included Oprah Winfrey and Oracle (ORCL - Get Report) CEO Larry Ellison. Additionally, Guggenheim Partners--which led a group that bought Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers last year--and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill also made overtures, according to reports.
"I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner," said Shelly Sterling in a statement released by San Francisco public relations firm G.F. Bunting PR. "We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."