Ballmer, who was chief executive of Microsoft for 14 years, was chosen over competitors that included Los Angeles-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group, the Chicago-based owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations said the Geffen group bid $1.6 billion and Ressler at $1.2 billion.
The sale price is almost four times the highest previous NBA franchise sale price — the $550 million paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is second only to the Dodgers 2012 sale for $2.1 billion as the highest price for any sports team in North America.
For the sale to the ex-Microsoft CEO to be official, it would need to be approved by Donald Sterling, the controlling owner of the Clippers who has been banned by the NBA for life. It would also need to be approved by the other owners.
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