LA Clippers owner Ballmer completes $400m Forum takeover

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Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has reached an agreement to purchase The Forum from The Madison Square Garden Company for $400m in cash.

The acquisition, which will be made through the newly-formed CAPSS LLC, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020. Advanced talks began early this month.

The purchase of the live-music arena in Inglewood, California, clears a major hurdle in the National Basketball Association team’s efforts to build a new 18,000-seat basketball arena and entertainment complex in the area.

“This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said in a statement. “We are committed to our investment in the City of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans.”

The Clippers have been tenants at the AEG-owned Staples Center, which they share with the Los Angeles Lakers and the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings, since 1999. In 2013, team signed a 10-year extension of the lease to keep them at the venue until 2024.

The Forum, which opened in 1967, was the prior home of the Lakers and Kings prior to the opening of Staples Center. Though outdated, the venue has since remained active as a venue for music and entertainment events, and other sports competitions, particularly in combat sports.

Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft, has repeatedly expressed his desire for the Clippers to have their own modern arena in Inglewood. It is hoped the team can break ground on the new arena, which would be based on mostly vacant land under the flight path of Los Angeles International Airport, by 2021. The site is also very close to the forthcoming SoFi Stadium.

However, Ballmer’s attempts to build the facility have led to multiple lawsuits, including three from Forum owner MSG, which owns numerous venues and sports teams including the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.

“We are looking forward to putting the legal issues behind us,” the Clippers said in a statement. “This will allow us to focus on delivering world-class experiences for music fans and building a new arena that will provide a unique environment and a true home court advantage for Clippers fans.”