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NBA approves sale of Kings

The sale of the Sacramento Kings to an investment group headed by Vivek Ranadive was unanimously approved Tuesday by the NBA's Board of Governors.

The Maloof family, which had controlling ownership of the Kings since 1999, agreed to sell the franchise to Ranadive's group for a reported $347 million. There was a competing bid from a partnership that would have moved the club to Seattle, but NBA owners earlier this spring voted to keep the team in Sacramento.

A new stadium deal, something the Maloof family worked unsuccessfully to complete, is part of the overall package.

Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player, worked tirelessly to keep the Kings in the city after repeated efforts for a new stadium plan with the Maloof family continually fell apart.

The Maloof family had agreed in January to sell a 65 percent share of the team to a group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who would have moved the Kings to Seattle.

On March 27, the Sacramento City Council approved a public-private deal to build a new 18,500-seat arena and retail center downtown, leading to the purchase bid from Ranadive's group.

The league heard proposals from both groups in April and decided, by a 22-8 vote, to keep the team in Sacramento.

Seattle has been without an NBA team since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 campaign. The Sonics were an expansion franchise in 1967-68.

The Kings, meanwhile, have been in numerous cities since their inception in 1948-49. They began as the Rochester Royals until 1956-57, then stopped in Cincinnati through 1971-72 before moving to the Midwest. They changed their name to the KC-Omaha Kings before becoming the Kansas City Kings in 1975-76, then moved to Sacramento for the start of the 1985-86 season.