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Guber & Co. win bid on Warriors

Duo offer record $450 million for NBA team

Mandalay Entertainment Group CEO Peter Guber is about to be in a real shootout.

The former Sony Pictures topper and his partner, Joseph Lacob of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, emerged the winning bidders for the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, offering a record $450 million for one of the worst teams in the NBA.

Guber seemed undeterred by the challenges to making the investment a success.

“Come on, this is a California team and we are two California guys,” Guber told Daily Variety. “I own lots of franchises. I see tremendous opportunities with this franchise to go deep with the fans, with the media. The biggest three-letter word in the movie business is s-e-x. In this business, it’s w-i-n. That’s what we plan to do.”

Guber, who co-hosts Encore’s “In the House” with Variety editorial director Peter Bart, added, “In movies, we tell stories. And we are going to tell a story with the Warriors.” (Bart and Guber also hosted AMC’s “Shootout” for years.)

Guber’s stake would represent the second big Hollywood connection to NBA ownership. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also co-owns Magnolia Pictures and the Landmark theater chain.

Under terms of the sale, Lacob and Guber will be the primary owners of the Warriors. Mandalay will be a secondary owner, Guber said. He would not elaborate on how much each is investing. Lacob, who already owns a minority interest in the Boston Celtics, will most likely be required to sell that stake if the Warriors sale is approved by the league, said an NBA spokesman.

Among Mandalay’s entertainment holdings are six minor league baseball teams, including two affiliates of the New York Yankees. The deal was brokered by leading sports banker Sal Galatioto.

In winning the bid, the Guber-Lacob tandem left the rival bidder, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, holding the naming rights for the Warriors’ home court, Oracle Arena.

According to Forbes, the Warriors are valued at $315 million, about half that of the league’s most valuable franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors finished the 2009-10 season with a record of 26-56, placing them third from the basement in the western conference. The team has not made the playoffs since 2007.

The previous record for an NBA sale: the $401 million Robert Sarver shelled out for the Phoenix Suns in 2004.

The winning bid was first reported by CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

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