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Detroit Pistons and Gores extend talks on sale

DETROIT (Reuters) - The family that owns the Detroit Pistons has extended by two weeks its exclusive talks to sell the basketball team to Los Angeles-based billionaire Tom Gores.

"The parties are continuing to work in a cooperative manner and have agreed to a new 14-day exclusivity period," Karen Davidson, the primary owner of the franchise, said in a one sentence e-mailed statement.

Gores and Davidson agreed last month that he would be the preferred bidder for the team with an exclusive 30-day window to clinch a deal for the Pistons.

A spokesman for Platinum Equity, the private equity firm founded by Gores, declined to comment on the talks.

"We do not discuss whether or not we're considering potential transactions, and we don't comment on market rumors -- even when they're wrong," Platinum Equity spokesman Mark Barnhill said in an email.

Gores, 46, was born in Israel but grew up in Michigan and attended Michigan State University. He maintains a home in the state. According to Forbes, his net worth stands at $2.4 billion.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Gores had reached a tentative deal to buy the Pistons that valued the deal at $420 million. The deal would include the team, the Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theater.

But Forbes reported that the agreement was delayed because the two parties are at odds on how much Gores will pay upfront and how much will be paid at a later date based on the basketball team's financial performance.

Barnhill declined to comment on the Forbes report.

The Detroit Pistons are worth $360 million, making it the No. 13 most valuable team of the 30 teams in the National Basketball Association, according to Forbes.

Last year, Michael Ilitch, the owner of the Little Caesars Pizza chain and two Detroit sports teams, was the preferred bidder for the team.

But Davidson and Ilitch, who owns the Detroit Red Wings hockey team and the Detroit Tigers baseball team, could not reach a deal.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Ben Klayman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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