Sale of Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores is official

The sale of Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E) and the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores and his investment firm, Platinum Equity, was formally completed today, following unanimous approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors. With the transfer of ownership Mr. Gores becomes the fourth owner in Detroit Pistons’ franchise history.

“I am very excited at the opportunity to lead this great franchise into the future,” Mr. Gores said. “The passion and commitment of Pistons fans is legendary, and our goal is to meet every one of their expectations. That starts with the hard work and values necessary to compete for championships. It also includes being a real partner in the community, and we intend to do that as well. We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that this organization deserves the passion of our fans. We can’t wait to make a difference in Detroit.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced on Tuesday that the NBA Board of Governors had unanimously approved the change of ownership.

“It’s very important to us, because we think Tom will bring renewed vigor and energy to that great franchise,” Mr. Stern said at a news conference prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “He’s really very anxious to get going…and that’s a very good development for the Detroit Pistons and the good fans of Detroit.”

The Detroit Pistons are one of only seven teams in NBA history to win three or more championships and have made 40 playoff appearances in franchise history (fourth-most in the NBA). Since the 2000-01 season, Detroit has compiled a record of 512-390 (.568), won six Central Division titles, made six consecutive trips to the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals from 2003 to 2008, won two Eastern Conference Championships (2004, 2005) and made consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, including an NBA Championship in 2004.

On the entertainment side, PS&E’s Michigan venues average 300 events and 3.5 million guests annually. The Palace has been voted Arena of the Year eight times by Performance magazine, twice by Pollstar magazine and is listed annually among North America’s top-grossing arenas. Voted “Best Outdoor Concert Venue” in Pollstar’s 2000 Readers’ Poll, DTE Energy Music Theatre has been listed as the nation’s most attended amphitheater by Amusement Business/Billboard each of the 20 years of PS&E ownership. Meadowbrook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University hosted a record-tying six sold out shows in 2010 and achieved its second highest attendance average under PS&E’s 17 years of management.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Davidson family and what has been built here. Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons have enjoyed a great tradition of success and have been committed to being a positive influence in the community,” Mr. Gores added. “Our mission is to continue that legacy and do it the right way.”

Karen Davidson transfers control of the company to Tom Gores after nearly 37 years of Davidson family ownership. William Davidson became the club’s majority owner in 1974.

“Throughout this process, my goal was to find the right owner to lead Palace Sports and Entertainment into the future and I am certain that Tom Gores is that person,” said Davidson. “He is an astute businessman, works hard and will bring a passion to this organization – that same passion that Bill had for so many years.”

Goldman Sachs and SCP Worldwide advised Platinum Equity on the acquisition.