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Friday, May 30, 2014, 06:07 am PT (09:07 am ET)

Steve Ballmer outbids group including Laurene Powell Jobs for ownership of LA Clippers

Team Microsoft bested Team Apple on a different kind of financial battlefield this week, as former Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer is said to have outbid a group including Laurene Powell Jobs — the widow of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — for the rights to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA.

Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs at the 2012 State of the Union address.


Powell Jobs teamed with entertainment moguls David Geffen and Oprah Winfrey as well as asset management firm Guggenheim Partners in a failed $1.6 billion bid for the team, according to the Wall Street Journal. That group was initially thought to have included Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, though his participation is now unclear.

Ballmer will pay some $2 billion for the franchise in a hasty sale arranged after the revelation of racist rantings by current Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling has indicated that he may fight the sale, though the NBA has pledged to force him out one way or another.

It would have been Powell Jobs's first foray into sports ownership, though her family does have a strong — albeit indirect — connection to the NBA. Thanks to the 2006 sale of Pixar to Disney, Powell Jobs controls nearly 10 percent of The Walt Disney Company, which owns sports television powerhouse ESPN.

Powell Jobs has kept a relatively low profile since her husband's death, continuing the couple's tradition of quiet philanthropy. She is primarily known for her work on education initiatives, especially as the cofounder and chairman of College Track, an organization that helps prepare underprivileged students for college.