Technology

With Ballmer Buying the Clippers, Microsoft Is the Real Winner

Steve_Ballmer_CES_2010
Source: Microsoft Sweden, via Wikimedia Commons
Sitting on a fortune estimated to be worth about $20 billion, former Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer agreed late Thursday to pay $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team. It is the second-highest price ever paid for a U.S. professional sports team, behind the $2.1 billion price tag for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.

Ballmer was never shy about spending gobs of Microsoft’s money on acquisitions that made only a little sense and did not always pan out as he would have hoped. Remember the $6.3 billion acquisition in 2007 of online ad business aQuantive, the company’s biggest bust ever. On the plus side, the $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype has been a big success.

With more than 333 million shares, Ballmer is the second-largest Microsoft stockholder behind only Vanguard. But now that he will have a rebuilding project in Los Angeles to keep him busy, Ballmer will have far less time to peek over Satya Nadella’s shoulder and offer some friendly advice on how to spend Microsoft’s money. Nadella, for one, is likely to become a huge Clippers fan.

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