The former Microsoft CEO became the Los Angeles Clippers new owner when he purchased the basketball franchise from the embattled Donald Sterling for an eye-popping $2 billion back in August- a sum equal to about four times the next highest franchise price ever paid.
Naturally, most observers thought it was just another in a long line of bad ideas stretching back through his Microsoft days (think MSN smart watch, Windows Vista, Windows CE, Zune, and even ‘Clippy’, that horribly annoying paper-clip cartoon that would pop up every time you attempted to do one thing in an MS Office application).
But all that skepticism was unwarranted it turns out. According to a recent article in the Financial Times, Ballmer will likely be able to get $1 Billion in tax breaks on his Clippers deal over the next 15 years owing to some sneaky, little understood accounting treatments.
Bud Fox News dispatched senior anchorwoman and High Priestess of Markets, Marina Barfin-Rolo to sit down with Ballmer to talk about his plans for the Clippers Franchise and what he’ll do with the found $1 billion. An excerpt from their discussion at the Staples Center:
MBR: Steve it’s great to see you again, it’s been quite a while since we last spoke. I was with another business network, and I think you were trying to explain the merits of re-booting your computer when Windows freezes.
SB: That’s right, Marina! Boy is it great to see you again! I can’t tell you how excited I am!
MBR: Well, thanks for taking the time Steve. To start off, let me ask you about your short-lived retirement and how you decided to become a basketball team owner?
SB: Well Marina, I enjoyed retirement for about a month, but then I just became restless… I mean, I was literally bouncing off the walls at home. My wife couldn’t stand having me around that much. She told me to quit doing jumping jacks in the kitchen HAHAHAHHAHA! Plus, I got sick and tired of people who kept bringing up the fact that I said the iPhone was a joke and people wouldn’t want a smartphone without a keyboard. I mean- who cares? That was like 5 decades ago in technology years.
So when Don Sterling got himself in all that hot water, I thought, here’s my chance to put some meaning back in my life. I mean, you know how much I love large crowds and being the center of attention. This gives me the perfect venue. I’m going to be in charge of all the home game half-time shows. Think of the biggest pep-rally you’ve ever seen and then TIMES THAT BY 10 AND PUT IT ON STEROIDS!!!!! (Ballmer shouting) IT’S GOING TO BE WILD!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! YEEEEAAAHHHHH!!
MBR: Wow, I guess you’re right. This really gives you the kind of stage where you thrive.
SB: You bet it does, Marina.
MBR: And Steve, regarding the tax breaks in the deal, can you confirm what the FT reported on October 27, that you’ll be getting $1 Billion back?
SB: That’s right, Marina. I’m not prepared to discuss details, but I can tell you that there will be a significant tax benefit. It will take many years to recoup, but my tax advisors assure me it’s a legitimate use of numerous loopholes in the tax code.
MBR: Well, that’s very fortunate for you. Do you have plans for the windfall? Some new tech ventures or start-up seed funds? Or any revolutionary new tech gadgetry we can look forward to with your name on it?
SB: Oh no, Marina. Any funds that come back from this purchase will all be reinvested into the team. And by that I mean the cheerleading team. I mean, with salary caps and nonsense like that there’s nothing I can do about the players we get. But I’m going to make damn sure that when our fans show up, THEY GET THEIR HARD-CORE, HARD-CORE CHEER ON AHAHHHAAAHAHAHA!!!!! BOOM! Keep coming. HARD-core. The HARDCORE Clippers, that’s us.
We’re going to get the best cheerleaders money can buy. A new mascot… Indoor fireworks. I got lots of ideas. And I’m going to be the new cheerleading coach. If I can get this PC to boot up, I wanna show you what these fans are in for at the Staples Center going forward.