Clippers deal is a BV ‘wild card’

BVWireIssue #143-3
August 20, 2014

How do you value the emotion or ego that comes into play when someone wants to buy a business they absolutely have to own? You can’t—it’s not quantifiable. That’s the “wild card” in business valuation and it appears to have shown up recently in the Los Angeles Clippers deal.

Done deal: Forbes reports that the deal for Steve Ballmer to buy the Clippers has been finalized at $2 billion. Earlier this year, Forbes valued the team at $575 million. A confidential Bank of America valuation report (disguised as “Project Claret” and available here) valued the team much higher primarily due to projected increases in media revenue. But BoA’s estimated value is still a far cry from the price.

In a blog, Donald Erickson (Erickson Partners Inc.) analyzed the BoA report and estimated the team’s value to be $1.37 billion, assuming a multiple of five times revenue (the high end of prevailing multiples). That leaves a difference of $630 million—a lot of money to pay for the privilege of drinking champagne in a locker room after a big win!

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