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For years, Irwin Jacobs and his family have done a lot of political business in Sacramento - example number one is their standard bearer, newly-minted Democrat Nathan Fletcher - and now it looks like they are going to own part of a basketball team there.


The Sacramento Bee reports this morning that the sons of the billionaire Democrat are part of the well-heeled high tech group buying the Kings from the widely maligned Maloof family, which wanted to sell the team to another high tech bunch of billionaires, led by Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.

That deal fell through when Sacramento lobbied the NBA to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Part of the Sacramento arrangement, naturally, is a new taxpayer financed venue, currently being challenged in court.

The new NBA deal is being led by Vivek Ranadive, a high tech Indian born entrepreneur from Silicon Valley.

Besides Ranadive, the group's leadership includes the Jacobs family of San Diego, founder of communications giant Qualcomm. The three Jacobs brothers - Paul, Jeff and Hal - would serve as vice chairmen of the franchise on a rotating basis.

The deal would set the team's overall value at $535 million, an NBA record. The source did not say why the price values the team at $535 million, rather than the $525 million figure the local group had offered.

The sale price translates into $347 million for the 65 percent of the team controlled by the Maloofs and their business partner, Robert Hernreich.

As previously reported, Jacobs and the company he founded are well acquainted with the ins and outs of stadium politics.

Last year they made local headlines when city attorney Jan Goldsmith opined that Qualcomm's Snapdragon stadium gambit, approved by GOP mayor Jerry Sanders, a big beneficiary of Jacobs family political money, was illegal.

According to the Bee report:

The other major player in the franchise would be Raj Bhathal, an India-born businessman and head of one of the largest swimwear companies in the United States. Bhathal was announced as a partner on Wednesday.

Sacramento group spokesman Adam Mendelsohn said Thursday that the group also has added Silicon Valley entrepreneur Katrina Garnett, a native of Australia, whose latest venture, My Little Swans, is described as the first Internet social network dedicated to high-end family travel.

UPDATE: Sacramento Bee's coverage of this morning's announcement.

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