05 Nov Memphis Grizzlies’ ownership group grows
Memphis Grizzlies’ new majority owner Robert Pera introduced himself and a number of new members in the ownership group at a press conference this morning at FedExForum.
Pera, founder and CEO of Ubiquiti Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: UBNT), and Memphis Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien headed up the first public appearance of the new ownership.
Levien introduced members of the ownership group one at a time, detailing his relationship with each member, noting that he had known minority owner and former congressman Harold Ford Jr. for more than 20 years dating back to their time in law school together. He met Tower Ventures LLC president Billy Orgel at Ford’s wedding.
The newly announced group includes Los Angeles financier Steve Kaplan, who also serves as Grizzlies vice chairman; Pace Cooper, president and CEO of Cooper Hotels; Steve Ehrhart, executive director of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl; Ed Dobbs, CEO of Dobbs Management Services; Al Gossett, president of Gossett Motor Cars; The Hand Family, owners of Budweiser of Memphis; Barry Klarberg, founder of Monarch Business and Wealth Management; Joseph Nicosia, former CEO of Allenberg Cotton; Bill Rhodes, CEO of AutoZone Inc.; Michael Savit, managing partner of HWS Group; Mike Wharton, president of McVean Trading & Investments LLC; and Spence Wilson, C. Kemmons Wilson Jr. and Robert Wilson of Kemmons Wilson Cos.
The previously announced group includes: local basketball legend Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway, University of Tennessee football legend and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, his wife Ashley Manning, singer-actor Justin Timberlake and his stepfather, Paul Harless, AutoZone Inc. founder J.R. ‘Pitt’ Hyde, financier Staley Cates and Memphis businessmen Edward Dobbs and Duncan Williams, managing partner of Duncan-Williams Inc.
Pera discussed his start at Apple Inc., and described himself as the “last man on the bench,” before he branched out on his own to launch Ubiquiti, which develops, manufactures and sells wireless broadband network hardware for for rural or developing markets.
“When I look at Memphis as a community and see how important the team is, I have the same feeling I have with my company,” Pera said. “I understand the community really owns the team. The goal is to be highly competitive, build a great brand and have a great product.”