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Originally published May 8, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Page modified May 8, 2013 at 9:22 PM

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Report: Sacramento group encouraged to put 100 percent of Kings purchase price in escrow

NBA officials are suggesting the private investment group led by Vivek Ranadive make the move to prove it has the money to fund a backup offer.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A Sacramento investment group hoping to buy the Kings is being encouraged to put its entire $341 million purchase price offer in escrow in advance of an NBA vote next week, The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.

The NBA's Board of Governors will meet Wednesday in Dallas to likely settle the four-month long Seattle/Sacramento battle over the Kings.

A Seattle group led by Chris Hansen reached an agreement with the current owners, the Maloof family, to buy 65 percent of the team for about $358 million.

A Sacramento group has matched what was the original Seattle offer, $341 million, and expects to make a deal with the Maloofs if the NBA does not approve the sale to the Hansen group.

However, the Maloofs have insisted throughout they would prefer to sell to the Seattle group. The Bee reported that the Sacramento group is being encouraged to put the money in escrow in hopes of "persuading" the Maloofs to accept its offer.

The Bee reported that a source said the Sacramento group is being asked to make the move to show that it has "the wherewithal" to back its offer.

The Bee reported that the Maloof family has "expressed concerns privately" about the financial viability of the Sacramento group, led by Vivek Ranadive — also a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors.

The Sacramento group on Friday was reported to have put 50 percent of the purchase price in escrow in an attempt to show it had the needed financing.

The Seattle group has reportedly put 100 percent of its offer in escrow.

The NBA's Relocation Committee voted 7-0 late last month to recommend the Kings not be allowed to move to Seattle. The BOG has been expected to follow that recommendation, assuming it does not find reason to be concerned about the Sacramento offer.

It was also reported earlier this week that the Sacramento group has said it would take a greatly reduced piece of revenue sharing in a further attempt to win over the NBA's BOG. Seattle, as a larger market, would likely contribute to the revenue-sharing pie.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @bcondotta.

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