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Mavericks Reportedly Sold to Group Headed by Ross Perot Jr.

April 17, 1996

DALLAS (AP) _ The Dallas Mavericks have been sold to a group led by Ross Perot Jr., according to news reports Tuesday.

The Dallas Morning News, television station KDFW and radio station KLIF reported Tuesday that Mavericks owner Don Carter had reached an agreement to sell the club to the Dallas developer.

The reports, each citing unidentified sources, said that Carter plans to retain 20 percent interest in the club and had returned an eight-figure ``earnest money″ check to Thomas Hicks, Perot’s reported competition in bidding for the NBA club.

The newspaper reported that the check was for $10 million.

Perot is the son of Dallas billionaire and former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Hicks is a Dallas businessman and investor who owns the Dallas Stars of the NHL.

The Perot group emerged Monday, a source told the newspaper, after increasing its offer from $115 million to $125 million.

But a source close to negotiations told the newspaper that Hicks would likely buy up to 30 percent of the Mavericks from Perot and that Perot eventually would purchase up to 30 percent of the Stars from Hicks.

No official announcement is expected until early Thursday.

``The deal is in the hands of the attorneys,″ Carter said prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. ``As soon as they get through with it, there’ll be a press conference.″

Carter said his primary concern is receiving an assurance from the new owner that the franchise will remain in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

``I’m satisfied with the work my attorneys have done and the guarantee that the team won’t leave the Metroplex,″ Carter said.

Neither Perot nor Hicks returned telephone calls from The Associated Press on Tuesday. However, Hicks told the newspaper, ``I met with Ross (Monday) and I’m confident we’re going to find a way to align our economic interest of the Stars and the Mavericks and the new arena.″

Sources told the newspaper that Frank Zaccanelli, president of Perot’s Hillwood Development Co., probably would emerge as Perot’s ``front man″ and be involved in the Mavericks’ day-to-day operations.

Other people expected to have involvement in the Perot group are auto dealer David McDavid and former Cowboys’ quarterback Roger Staubach, both as minority investors and background players.

The Carter and Perot families _ particularly Carter’s son, Ron Carter, and Ross Perot Jr. _ are close. The families have discussed several partnerships, including possibly involving NASCAR once the Texas Motor Speedway is completed.

Carter disclosed recently his desire to sell the NBA club, although he said he wanted to keep a piece of the franchise.

The Mavericks and the Stars, co-tenants of Reunion Arena, have been negotiating with the city of Dallas for several months to build a new facility that would be owned by the teams.

However, Carter’s friends have said the devout Baptist did not want alcoholic beverages to be sold in the new arena, which may be part of his reason for wanting to sell the team.

Carter paid $12 million to the NBA for the Mavericks franchise in 1979. The club, which began play in the league’s 1980 expansion, is now valued at more than $125 million.

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