Heisley confirms potential sale for Memphis Grizzlies

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Grizzlies majority owner Michael Heisley announced Monday he has reached an agreement to sell the team to 34-year-old billionaire Robert Pera.

ESPN.COM first reported the deal is in the $350 million range.

In a written statement issued by the Grizzlies, Heisley said, "I am confident that the franchise will continue its development toward being a perennial championship contender.  In Robert, we have a new owner who has expressed a total commitment to build on our success in Memphis."

Pera appears committed to keeping the team in the Mid-South, saying in the news release, "I look forward to getting to know the Memphis community and to continuing the team's success in Memphis."

Pera, a communications technology mogul, was a former engineer at Apple before leaving to start his own company, Ubiquiti Networks.

Pera is on Forbes' list of the 10 youngest billionaires in the world.

He also is reportedly an avid basketball fan and plays four-to-five times a week.

The 75-year-old Heisley purchased the team in 2000 when the franchise was still in Vancouver, and relocated the team to Memphis in 2001.

Back in March, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had inquired about buying the Grizzlies and moving them to San Jose, but Heisley had said it was never his intention to move the team out of Memphis, and any potential deal was nixed.

The sale now goes in front of the NBA Board of Governors for official approval.

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