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Vivek Ranadive, a 55-year-old software company chairman from India and part-owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, has taken a lead role in a bid group to buy the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
Ranadive, chief executive of Silicon Valley-based TIBCO and vice chairman of the Warriors, anounced on Twitter that he was joining the group trying to keep the team in California's capital and thwart a bid from a Seattle group.
"Looking forward to supporting @KJ_MayorJohnson as we work towards keeping the @SacramentoKings where they belong," Ranadive tweeted. "Excited to be a part of the revitalization of a great community and the globalization of an amazing franchise. #HereWeStay."
Ranadive, whose Twitter picture is him sitting at center court in the Warriors' home arena surrounded by players, has degrees from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT).
His company does $1 billion of business annually and his eight percent share of the publicly traded company puts his holdings at $318 million.
"Vivek takes an already strong ownership group to the next level," said Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former NBA player.
Ranadive joins Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle in trying to assemble enough money purchase the Kings two weeks after NBA commissioner David Stern said the Sacramento group, whose plan includes a new downtown arena, were too low.
"Unless it increases, it doesn't get to the state of consideration," Stern said.
It's a high-tech and high stakes fight for the Kings, with a Seattle group led by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen having already offered a reported $341 million for a 65 percent share of the team and had the owners, the Maloof family, accept the deal.
The latest offer from Ranadive and Mastrov, who tried to buy the Warriors in 2010, was sent to the Maloofs as a back-up plan, since the league must approve all sales deals.
Should Ranadive's bid group succeed, he must sell his interest in the Warriors.
The Seattle and Sacramento groups are expected to make their case to an ownership committee on April 3 with the full NBA board of governors expected to vote on the team's fate on April 19, two days after the NBA season has ended.
At 24-44, the Kings are no threat to reach the NBA playoffs.