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Larry Ellison eyeing NBA franchise but will Oracle investors get 'Clipped'?


Disgraced racist owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling hasn’t even agreed to sell his team yet, but that hasn’t prevented a parade of celebs from expressing interest in buying the team. Everyone from Diddy to Oscar de La Hoya has stepped up and offered to spend what could end up being around a billion dollars to be part of the NBA’s inner-circle.

One of the more credible groups in terms of track record and bankroll is the team of Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen and Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison. While Ellison’s track record defending the America's Cup (he reportedly blew-off his key note address to watch the race) suggests an ability to multi-task, but should shareholders be sweating over executives who don’t feel the need to show up for work?

Eric Jackson of IronFire Capital says not all CEOs are equal and Ellison has earned the benefit of the doubt. In the attached clip Jackson points out that Ellison was criticized for not understanding the Internet or cloud operations. “I think he would say ‘I’m doing just fine, thanks. I can buy a Hawaiian Island, I can ride my boat and I still know a thing or two about running a software company.’”

Not every exec is so capable. Speaking from Canada, Jackson says former Research in Motion (BBRY) CEO Jim Balsillie became the poster boy for distracted executives when he was pursuing a series of NHL franchises while Apple (AAPL) was releasing the iPhone.

Let us not forget the endless series of stadium sponsorships that surrounded the dot.com bubble. From 3-Com park to Enron Field in Houston or even the black hole of joy that is CitiField, history hasn’t been kind to companies that stray too far from their roots into entertainment and sports.

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