By AP and CP
The Boston Celtics, one of the NBA's original and most storied franchises, will be sold to an investment group for $360 million US in a surprise deal announced yesterday.
Under the agreement, which requires league approval, the team will be owned by a group led by Boston-area venture capitalists Stephen Pagliuca 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% 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, after it won its third NBA title in five years. Shareholders, many of whom are fans who own 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.