Sonics update: Bidding war? Seattle group increases bid by $25M

200px-Seattle_SuperSonics_logo (1)The Seattle investment group led by Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is raising its bid to bring the NBA back to the Emerald City.

Late Friday, Hansen wrote that his group is increasing its purchase offer to buy the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family by $25 million from $525 million to $550 million.

This comes after conflicting reports over whether or not the Sacramento investor group said that they would match the original bid put forth by Hansen and Ballmer earlier this year that has already been agreed to.

Here’s Hansen’s post:

We would like to announce that we have reached an agreement with the Maloofs to raise the price we are offering to purchase the controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise by $25 million — from an enterprise value of $525 million to an enterprise value of $550 million.

While we already have a binding purchase agreement to purchase the controlling interest in the team, the Seattle Ownership Group has elected to voluntarily raise its purchase price as a sign of our commitment to bring basketball back to our City and our high degree of confidence in our Arena plan, our financing plan, the economic strength of the Seattle market, individual and corporate support for the team and, most importantly, the future of the NBA.

Hansen and Ballmer reached an agreement with the Maloof family (current owners) in January to buy 65 percent of the Kings for a reported $341 million. The group has already put down a $30 million non-refundable deposit and has requested for the team to play at KeyArena for two seasons before moving into the new SoDo arena in 2015.

Everyone will reconvene in front of the full NBA Board of Governors at its annual meeting April 18-19 when the official vote happens. That’s when we’ll know if the NBA is coming back to Seattle or not, though there have been rumors that the decision could be delayed. There have also been reports that indicate the NBA could strongly consider expansion (adding another team) if this turns into a bidding war.

The Maloof family has reportedly said they’d “embrace” an offer from the Sacramento group if the NBA owners decide to block Seattle’s bid. 23 of the 30 owners must vote to approve the deal next week, or else the Maloof family will have the option to sell the team to the Sacramento group.

NBA.com David Aldridge has a great rundown of everything that’s going on right now here.

Previously on GeekWire: Sonics update: Former Facebook exec joins Sacramento investor group