Bidders are lining up to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers, the L.A. Times reported on Thursday, and the eventual winner may pay well over $1 billion.
Citing unnamed sources involved in the sale, the newspaper said three different bidders are interested in the team, which is being wrested from Sterling's control by the National Basketball Association in the wake of a furor over his racist comments.
One of the potential bidders includes a consortium led by L.A.-based investors and includes former NBA star Grant Hill—and the group is offering $1.2 billion for the team. That is exponentially higher than the $12.5 million Sterling originally paid for the franchise back in the 1980s.
A later report from Forbes quoted a source saying that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has offered $1.8 billion for the team. The publication did not specify if Ballmer—who remains on the Microsoft board—made the offer as an individual or as part of a group.
Another group of investors reportedly bidding on the team includes media mogul David Geffen, television host Oprah Winfrey, and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Reuters reported that this group has offered more than $1.5 billion for the Clippers.
Sterling's wife, Shelly, is a co-owner of the team and is spearheading the sale. Yet the L.A. Times reports that the owner himself remains a wild card, as his lawyer has suggested he may fight the process, contrary to reports suggesting he would allow it.
—By CNBC Staff