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LA Clippers Owner Reaches $400M Deal to Purchase The Forum From MSG

L.A. Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer has reached a $400 million agreement with the Madison Square Garden Company to purchase The Forum arena in Inglewood, California. 

CAPSS LLC, a new company formed by L.A. Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer and vice chairman Dennis Wong, has reached an agreement with the Madison Square Garden Company to purchase The Forum arena in Inglewood, California, for $400 million in cash, it was announced Tuesday (March 24).

In addition to the acquisition, the agreement will resolve three separate lawsuits filed by Madison Square Garden Company chairman James Dolan against Ballmer and the City of Inglewood over Ballmer’s plans to build a new 18,000 seat basketball arena for the Clippers less than two miles from The Forum. That project, which is currently undergoing an environmental review by the city, is expected to break ground next year and be complete in time for the 2024-2025 NBA season.

Tuesday’s deal, which remains subject to review by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, is expected to close during in the second quarter of this year. As part of the agreement, all current Forum employees will receive employment offers from the new owner.

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“This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” said Ballmer in a statement. “We are committed to our investment in the City of Inglewood, which will be good for the community, the Clippers, and our fans.”

In a release announcing the deal, The Forum’s new owners state that having it and the still-to-be-built second Inglewood arena under the same ownership will allow for coordinated programming between the two venues and improve traffic congestion in the area.

“We know traffic is something that many Inglewood residents worry about,” said Chris Meany, principal of Wilson Meany, which is overseeing development of the new arena project. “While we have gone to great lengths to provide an unprecedented traffic-management plan for the new basketball arena, this acquisition provides a much greater ability to coordinate and avoid scheduling events at the same time at both venues.”

According to Tuesday’s release, the new arena project is expected to create an estimated 7,500 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs once it opens, while the Clippers have proposed a $100 million package of community benefits.

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Previous reporting by Billboard found that the purchase agreement was endorsed by all five major stakeholders in The Forum, including Dolan, Inglewood mayor James Butts, promoter Live Nation, Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and music manager and former Forum executive Irving Azoff. Sources told Billboard at the time that the agreement would create a united front against AEG owner Philip Anschutz, allowing his rivals to join together and build an alternative to the AEG-managed LA Live, an entertainment complex abutting the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Dolan purchased The Forum in 2012 and, in a joint venture with Azoff, helped turn the venue into one of the U.S.’s top-selling arenas. It reopened in 2014 after undergoing a $100 million renovation.

The change in ownership isn’t expected to impact the number of shows Live Nation brings to The Forum, which has grossed $477 million in sales, sold 5.3 million tickets and hosted nearly 500 shows since its grand re-opening in 2014, according to Billboard Boxscore.