If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em out.
Steve Ballmer, owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, is close to a deal to buy The Forum from Madison Square Garden Co (NYSE: MSG), according to an ESPN report.
The purchase would eliminate one of the main obstacles to Ballmer's effort to build a new arena for the Clippers.
The current Forum owner, MSG — which also owns the league's New York Knicks — has been in a long-running legal battle to prevent the Clippers from building a new arena near The Forum, in Inglewood near Los Angeles.
If Ballmer buys the Forum, presumably that problem would be solved.
"We are examining every possible way to resolve our differences with Madison Square Garden Co. regarding our new arena," the Clippers said in a statement to ESPN; MSG declined to comment.
The report cited league sources as saying the talks on a sale of The Forum, once one of the best-known arenas in American professional sprots, are in an advanced stage.
"The Clippers continue to pursue plans to build a state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat basketball arena and entertainment complex in Inglewood and are currently working with the city to successfully complete the comprehensive Environmental Impact Report," the team's statement said.
The Clippers share the Staples Center with another NBA team, the Lakers. The team has complained about receiving less revenue in that deal than the Lakers — and the NHL's Los Angeles Kings — also a Staples Center tenant, as well as scheduling conflicts.
Both sides are reportedly eager to settle the legal stalemate, which has cost the battling parties tens of millions of dollars. Ballmer is estimated to be the wealthiest owner in the NBA.
The Forum was the longtime home of the Lakers before they moved to the Staples Center, as well as the NHL's Kings, the basketball games at the 1984 Olympics and the Pac-10 championships. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.
MSG shares were down 1.06% at $264.99 at the time of publication Monday.
Photo by Ritapepaj via Wikimedia.