Group led by media mogul Geffen bids over $1.5 billion for LA Clippers

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Group led by media mogul Geffen bids over $1.5 billion for LA Clippers
Shelly Sterling is congratulated outside the courthouse in Los Angeles on July 28, 2014 after a ruling was made in the case between her and her husband Donald over the sale of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. A California judge gave the go-ahead to the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, ruling that embattled owner Donald Sterling could not block the move. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shelly Sterling steps to the podium to respond to questions from the media outside the courthouse in Los Angeles on July 28, 2014 after a ruling was made in the case between her and her husband Donald over the sale of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. A California judge gave the go-ahead to the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, ruling that embattled owner Donald Sterling could not block the move. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shelly Sterling reacts while facing the media outside the courthouse in Los Angeles on July 28, 2014 after a ruling was made in the case between her and her husband Donald over the sale of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. A California judge gave the go-ahead to the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, ruling that embattled owner Donald Sterling could not block the move. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shelly Sterling reacts while facing the media outside the courthouse in Los Angeles on July 28, 2014 after a ruling was made in the case between her and her husband Donald over the sale of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. A California judge gave the go-ahead to the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, ruling that embattled owner Donald Sterling could not block the move. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Shelly Sterling reacts to questions while meeting with the media outside the courthouse in Los Angeles on July 28, 2014 after a ruling was made in the case between her and her husband Donald over the sale of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. A California judge on Monday gave the go-ahead to the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, ruling that embattled owner Donald Sterling could not block the move. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
With her attorney Pierce O'Donnell, right, Shelly Sterling, center, talks to reporters after a judge ruled in her favor and against her estranged husband, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the NBA basketball team, outside Los Angeles Superior Court, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 30: Steve Ballmer (L) and Eric Garcetti attend Game Six of the Western Conference Final during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on May 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and his wife Rochelle watch the Clippers play the Detroit Pistons during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 12, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Pistons won 113-107.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Clippers Interim CEO Dick Parsons speaks at a press conference on May 12, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Clippers owner Donald Sterling has offered his first public apology for racist remarks that saw him banned for life from the NBA. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, arrives at a Los Angeles courthouse with her attorney Pierce O' Donnell, Monday, July 7, 2014. With the potentially record-breaking $2 billion sale of the Clippers hanging in the balance, a trial beginning Monday will focus on Shelly Sterling had the authority under terms of a family trust to unilaterally negotiate the deal. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Shelly Sterling, the estranged wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, arrives at a Los Angeles courthouse with her attorney Pierce O' Donnell, Monday, July 7, 2014. With the potentially record-breaking $2 billion sale of the Clippers hanging in the balance, a trial beginning Monday will focus on Shelly Sterling had the authority under terms of a family trust to unilaterally negotiate the deal. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 7: Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, left and his wife Shelly pose for a photograph before his team played the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes in a Clippers playoff game with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in May. Ballmer has reportedly agreed to purchase the Clippers for $2 billion, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: David Geffen attends the Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers game on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 24: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison watches the Los Angeles Clippers face the Golden State Warriors in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena on April 24, 2014 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, upper right, watches the Golden State Warriors play the Clippers during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 10, 2010, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
A Los Angeles Clippers fan holds up a t-shirt cursing the team's owner Donald Sterling durring game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 15, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in their NBA playoffs round two series in which the Thunder defeated the Clippers 104-98 to win the series by four games to two. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: Rochelle Sterling attends an NBA playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: Rochelle Sterling (L) and Pierce O'Donnell attend an NBA playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 27: Shelly Sterling (C), the wife of Donald Sterling owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, watches the Clippers against the Golden State Warriors in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on April 27, 2014 in Oakland, California. The players wore theirs warm up this way in protest of owner Donald Sterling's racially insensitive remarks. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29: Rochelle Sterling attends an NBA playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
Shelly Sterling (R), wife of embattled owner of Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, watches Game 3 of the Clippers second round NBA playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 9, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media regarding the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on April 29, 2014 at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media about the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and accusations that he made racist remarks to a girlfriend. Sterling, a billionaire, will be banned for life in the NBA. Sterling has a controversial history in racially charged Los Angles with previous accusations of racism tempered by philanthropic work in inner city neighborhoods.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and former Los Angeles Lakers player Norm Nixon addresses the media during the press conference in response to the NBA's decision to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.
Former Los Angeles Lakers player A. C. Green and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar address the media during the press conference in response to the NBA's decision on Donald Sterling.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media regarding the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Director and actor Spike Lee watches as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media about the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Spike Lee attends the press conference as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discusses punishment for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
The Clippers wear their warmup jerseys inside-out prior to Game 3 of their playoff series against the Warriors in protest of owner Donald Sterling.
DALLAS, TX - APRIL 28: Members of the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs wear black socks in protest of comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Earvin 'Magic' Johnson Jr speaks at a press conference on student scholarships in Indiana on April 28, 2014 in Gary, Indiana. The NBA Hall of Famer held the press conference to promote a benefit to raise money for student scholarships in Gary. During the press conference Johnson also answered questions in regard to comments made by Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling attends the NBA playoff game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors, April 21, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
In this Oct. 17, 2010 file photo, Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling watches his team play in Los Angeles.
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By Ronald Grover

(Reuters) - A group that includes billionaire media executive David Geffen, television icon Oprah Winfrey and Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison bid more than $1.5 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, according to a person familiar with the bid.

The bid was one of several for the franchise. Geffen's group also includes Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter and President Todd Boehly.

Another group, which includes former basketball player Grant Hill and financier Tony Ressler, is believed to have bid $1.2 billion. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may have also bid around $1.8 billion, according to press reports.

The bids are being reviewed by co-owner Shelly Sterling, whose husband and co-owner Donald Sterling was banned from owning a team by the National Basketball Association for racist statements he made in a recorded conversation. The league has scheduled a June 3 hearing at which Donald Sterling can address the charges.

Sterling has pledged to fight the charges against him, and may file a lawsuit to stop the NBA from taking action, his lawyer Maxwell Blecher said in interview with the New York Times. His wife needs his approval to sell the team, the lawyer also said.

Ballmer's $1.8 billion bid for the Clippers would be the second-highest price ever paid for a U.S. sports team, according to Forbes, which cited a person familiar with Ballmer's interest in the club.

Forbes did not make clear if the multi-billionaire, who stepped down as CEO but remains on the board and still owns about 4 percent of the Redmond, Washington-based software giant, is bidding on his own or as part of a larger group.

A person familiar with the bid, who had no direct knowledge of Ballmer's intentions, told Reuters the billionaire had not submitted a bid. Ballmer declined to comment through his representatives.

Sterling, controlling owner of the Clippers for 33 years, was banned from the NBA after an audio recording surfaced of him criticizing a female friend for publicly associating with black people.

His comments sparked widespread outrage from fans and NBA players and led several commercial sponsors to sever ties with the team.

(Editing by Chris Reese, Nick Zieminski and Eric Walsh)

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