Bidder confusion: How many entities want to buy the Pistons – two or three?

Mike Ozanian of Forbes (hat tip: Gregg Krupa of The Detroit News):

The Detroit News reports owner Karen Davidson said the other day that there is another prospective bidder for the team should she and Gores fail to come to terms.

Now I am hearing that Ilitch is that guy and he is looking to grab the team and the Palace of Auburn Hills for right around the $360 million we pegged the Pistons at in January, $60 million less than the deal with Gores was being pegged at.

Interesting enough, but WXYZ already has Tom Wilson on the record that Mike Ilitch still wants to buy the Pistons. Ozanian’s report creates new questions, though.

In his reference to Ozanian’s post, Krupa wrote (emphasis mine):

The News reported Saturday that at least one entity that had not previously submitted a bid sought to make an offer recently but was told to wait, while negotiations continued with Gores.

Ilitch previously submitted a bid. He even held an exclusive 30-day negotiating window. He doesn’t fit The Detroit News’ description, so how can Ozanian claim Ilitch is other bidder?

I have a guess.

Krupa’s previous report, written with Vincent Goodwill, wasn’t nearly as clear as his follow-up. In that previous report, Krupa and Goodwill wrote:

Karen Davidson, Pistons owner, told a reporter there is another prospective bidder for the team, if exclusive negotiations with financier Tom Gores fail to produce an agreement.

Other knowledgeable sources say a new bidder would likely enter the process the moment Gores is no longer bargaining exclusively for the team.

New from what point? The beginning of this process? When Gores stops bargaining exclusively?

With answers to those questions unclear, I’m guessing Ozanian interpreted The Detroit News’ previous report to mean new from the point Gores stops bargaining exclusively (which by definition, is what would have to occur, but that just speaks to awkwardness of that wording).

Remember, Krupa’s much-clearer follow-up came after Ozanian’s post.

So, to sum up my best guess at what’s actually happening: The Detroit News is referring to a third bidder, besides Gores and Ilitch, entering the picture when Gores is no long negotiating exclusively. Ozanian, mistakenly believing The Detroit News was reporting about a second (not third) bidder, identified Ilitch as that second bidder. So, that would mean there’s still an unidentified third bidder waiting to join the fray.

But that’s just a guess. What’s clear: somebody along the line, whether it’s a reporter or a source, doesn’t understand somebody else.

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