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Continued: Schafer: Ballmer's deal takes NBA values to new level

  • Article by: LEE SCHAFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 4, 2014 - 12:46 AM

That’s the kind of billionaire this area seems to lack.

The retired CEO of Cargill, Whitney MacMillan, is one of the Twin Cities residents on the most recent Forbes 400 list. It’s difficult to picture a statesman like MacMillan elbowing himself to the front of the TV cameras after a championship game to spray Cristal champagne on his highly paid employees.

It’s not that easy to imagine Glen Taylor doing that, either, but the game has changed since Taylor bought control of the local NBA team back in the 1990s.

Taylor has always had partners in the Timberwolves, and he has explored finding a sizable minority partner who would eventually become the principal owner. What was a good plan in 2012 that didn’t quite come together is now, thanks to Ballmer, a great plan.

The Twin Cities is a bigger media market than Sacramento and a far bigger one than Milwaukee. And Forbes valued the T-Wolves higher than the Bucks before the recent eye-popping deals.

It will be interesting to see if Taylor manages to sell a one-third interest for north of $200 million. If he does, we already know the buyer won’t be anyone we recognize. • 612-673-4302

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  • Longtime hoops fan Steve Ballmer was CEO of Microsoft Corp. in July 2011 when he cheered during a charity game. Last month he agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion.

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