Celtics sold to investor group
WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics, one of the NBA's original and most storied franchises, will be sold to an investment group for $360 million in a surprise deal announced Friday.
Under the agreement, which still requires league approval, the team will be passed into the hands of a group led by Boston-area venture capitalists Stephen Paglicua and Wycliffe Grousbeck , as well as Grousbeck's father, H. Irving Grousbeck , the founder of Continental Cablevision and now a Stanford Business School professor.
The group planned to buy out current owner Paul Gaston as well as the 48 percent stake in the team owned by a publicly traded limited partnership, which will continue to exist but essentially sell the new owners its stake in the team, Celtics executive Richard Pond said.
The team began selling public shares in 1986, when it won its third NBA championship in five years. Shareholders, many of whom are fans who own just a handful of shares to hang on their wall as souvenirs, have no voting rights.
Boston has won 16 NBA championships, more than any other team, and Forbes Magazine recently estimated the value of the franchise at $218 million, 13th in the NBA, and well behind the first-place Los Angeles Lakers at $403 million.
But veteran Boston sports observer Larry Moulter, former president of the Boston Garden, said the $360 million price was fair considering the new owners would get a lease on the FleetCenter and not have to pay rent.
"It's a brand name that doesn't come on the market often," Moulter said. "It's a legacy brand name."
The team is the second Boston sports franchise to change hands this year. The Red Sox were bought by a group led by Florida financier John Henry earlier this year for $700 million, including debt.
Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for arguing with a strike call with an umpire in a 6-5 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 16.
Fernando Vargas tested positive for steroids after he lost to Oscar de la Hoya on Sept. 14, the Nevada Athletic Commission said. Vargas, who lost to De La Hoya after an 11th-round technical knockout, tested positive for stanozolol in a post-fight urinalysis, the Athletic Commission's Executive Director Marc Ratner said.
The Swiss capital of Bern withdrew from contention to host the 2010 Winter Olympics yesterday, after voters overwhelmingly rejected a plan to help pay for the bid. In a referendum last Sunday, 78 percent of voters in the state of Bern opposed the government loaning $5 million to subsidize the effort to win approval from the International Olympic Committee. Voters also refused to back a $10 million loan to expand ice-skating facilities in the state.
In Leipzig, Germany, Serena Williams easily reached the $585,000 Sparkassen Cup semifinals. The top-ranked Williams — who won the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open this year — beat Janette Husarova 6-3, 6-2 for her 34th victory in 35 matches.
OFF THE FIELD