Billionaire Tom Gores, whose Platinum Equity firm was rebuffed in an attempt to buy auto supplier Delphi Corp. out of bankruptcy in 2009, has set his sites on another struggling Motor City franchise: the Detroit Pistons basketball team.
According to reports out of Motown, Gores has an exclusive 30-day window to negotiate the purchase of the National Basketball Association team from Karen Davidson, the widow of longtime Pistons owner Bill Davidson.
Gores, a Beverly Hills, Calif., financier, has emerged as the lead bidder for the team after Davidson apparently broke off talks with pizza mogul Mike Ilitch.
The team is thought to be financially sound as it owns its Auburn Hills, Mich., arena and the valuable luxury box, concessions and parking rights that go with it.
But the Pistons have faltered on the court this season as their ownership has been in flux. The team has posted a 12-25 record, good for second-to-last place in the NBA’s Central division.
If Gores succeeds in his bid to buy the team, it wouldn’t be his first turnaround project.
Last year Platinum Equity purchased both Schutt Sports Inc., a football helmet maker, and Genmar Holdings Inc., the manufacturer of Four Winns and Ranger boats, out of bankruptcy.