(Bloomberg) -- Former pro basketball star Rick Fox is close to a sale of his esports company, according to people with knowledge of the matter, after one of his partners used a racial slur.
A deal for Echo Fox could be announced Monday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Los Angeles-based Echo Fox fields a team playing in the North America League of Legends Championship Series. Fox, 49, may leave as part of a deal, they said.
The former Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers star is weighing a sale after hiring investment banker LionTree to find a buyer for the stake held by his partner, Amit Raizada, and raise additional capital, according to the people. The website Dexerto reported in April that Raizada used the N-word in an email with a former company executive. He has apologized, according to a statement.
But Riot Games, which operates the League of Legends series, gave the organization 60 days to sever its ties to Raizada, a deadline that expires Monday after a seven-day extension. The possible buyers weren’t known. Riot Games could take over the sale process if the deadline isn’t met, the people said.
Raizada owns about 9% of the business, and could receive up to $11 million, including additional funds he’s owed, one of the people said.
Fox was an early backer and public evangelist for esports, where professional video gamers battle in front of audiences online and in arenas. His involvement lent credibility to the business early on and helped attract the interest of the traditional sports world.
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