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Monday, January 15, 2007
Davis-led group misses deadline to buy control of Grizz

Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The deadline passed Monday for a potential ownership group led by two former Duke players to purchase control of the Memphis Grizzlies, and Michael Heisley, the team's majority owner, said he's open to other offers.

"I'm in the deal business. I can't tell you how many times people enter into a deal, and then are not able to perform on that deal. It's very, very common. "
-- Michael Heisley, Grizzlies majority owner

The failure of Brian Davis and Christian Laettner to meet the deadline was not a surprise. The group's offer seemed to be in trouble weeks ago. Heisley said in a press conference before Monday night's game between the Grizzlies and the Phoenix Suns that he had not talked to Davis, the group's leader, but Heisley was already aware the deal would not be finalized in time.

"We had conversations with them in the past week or so, and we understood they would not be able to meet the deadline," Heisley said.

In addition to the issues with Heisley, the NBA was not considering the application because Davis had not been able to show that he could come up with $252 million needed to purchase Heisley's controlling share or the $360 million necessary to purchase the team. League officials said Dec. 5 they were not considering the sale because the proposed buyers had not provided enough information on their financing for the deal.

"I'm in the deal business," Heisley said. "I can't tell you how many times people enter into a deal, and then are not able to perform on that deal. It's very, very common."

Heisley said he would entertain other offers for the team, even from a local ownership group, but he could not specify whether there were any other deals on the table.

He didn't even rule out the Davis group returning to the negotiations.

"I'm sure Brian would still like to buy the team," Heisley said. "Whether he's able to put the deal together, I don't know. Obviously, his time has run out with us, and we're not going to give him an exclusive period any longer."