Investment Group Confirms Contract has been Signed to Purchase Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball Team; Rights to Operate Gund Arena
LIVONIA, Mich., January 3, 2005 - Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of the nation's largest online home lender Quicken Loans and Michigan-based home mortgage company Rock Financial, confirmed today he is leading an investor group that has agreed to buy the Cleveland Cavaliers from current owner Gordon Gund. The deal is pending approval by the National Basketball Association.
Mr. Gund will retain a minority ownership position in the new ownership group but will not have responsibility for day to day operations.
Dan Gilbert made the following statement:
"First, we will not be moving the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will be staying put in downtown Cleveland right where they belong.
Second, we consider it an honor and a privilege to obtain ownership of the Cavaliers. A professional sports team has the responsibility to serve the community in which it resides. We will be reaching out in every way possible to the fans and community and intend to have a positive impact on as many people as we can.
Third, 41 years is a long time to wait for a championship. We will be committed to the fans of Cleveland sports to be as passionate and energized as they are about finally bringing a title home. This will be our focus and goal and will remain so as long as we own this team.
Our background is building winning teams in the business world. Our philosophy centers around two things: creating an environment and culture where our entire team can achieve their maximum potential and delivering a 'world class' experience to our clients, or in this case, our fans. We plan to bring this same philosophy to the Cavaliers organization. Every detail and every second counts and "execution" will be the name of the game at every level and in every corner of the organization.
We've learned a great deal about the Cleveland Cavaliers during the past weeks and have been very impressed by what we've seen, in particular the loyalty and dedication of all the Cavaliers/Gund Arena Company (CGAC) employees. Mr. Gund and his staff also are to be commended for the professional way in which these negotiations have been handled and the over two decades of dedication and hard work they have put into building the solid foundation from where we are fortunate to take over." The closing of the deal will take place immediately following NBA approval.
Daniel Gilbert Biography
Quicken Loans is ranked the nation's largest online retail home lender by National Mortgage News, the trade publication that maintains industry data. Rock Financial is Michigan's largest home mortgage company and two of its brick-and-mortar branches in southeast Michigan are the largest retail mortgage branches in the country.
Quicken Loans Inc. has recently been ranked by FORTUNE Magazine the 13th best place of their "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America. Rock Financial has been voted "The Best and Brightest Company to Work for in Metro-Detroit." The Quicken Loans website, www.Quickenloans.com, has been named a "Best of the Web" site by Forbes, Money and PC Magazines.
Gilbert founded Rock Financial Corporation in 1985 as a first-year law student. Gilbert, then 22, served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Rock Financial grew into one of the largest independent mortgage banks in the country. In May 1998, Gilbert took the company public. Initially a brick and mortar lender, the company launched Rockloans.com in January of 1999, which quickly positioned itself as one of the fastest growing online direct mortgage lenders.
In December 1999, Intuit Inc. (makers of market leading software TurboTax and Quicken) purchased Rock Financial. The company was renamed Quicken Loans and soon became a leading provider of direct-to-consumer home loans on the Internet, offering mortgages in all 50 states. Gilbert stayed on with Quicken Loans as its CEO during the entire two and a half years Intuit owned the company.
In July, 2002, Gilbert led a small group of private investors and purchased the Quicken Loans subsidiary back from Intuit. While Quicken Loans Inc. is now 100 percent privately held, the company retained all Quicken Loans branding and marketing initiatives, including partnerships with Yahoo!, MSN.com, AOL.com and Realtor.com.
Gilbert also is a partner in private investment group Camelot Ventures, which invests in and operates technology, call center and other businesses. Some of the past and current investments have included contact lens retailing companies Lens 1st, Lens Express and 1-800-Contacts; Kintana, a technology chain automation software developer; and Red Envelope, a leading online and catalog retailer of stylish gifts.
Dan was Rawlings Sporting Goods' largest shareholder and was instrumental in effecting the sale of Rawlings to K2 in March 2003. He also has been a partner and investor in numerous commercial and residential real estate ventures in addition to serving on the Board of Directors of Great Lakes Bancorp, a publicly-held $3 billion Michigan thrift.
He is the president of JARC, a non-profit organization providing housing and services to the developmentally disabled, and sits on the board of The National Neurofibromatosis Foundation in New York City.
Gilbert has earned many industry and community accolades including the highly coveted "Entrepreneur of the Year" award from Ernst and Young in 1999. He was inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame in May 2003. Gilbert received an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University (no, he is NOT a Wolverine!), a law degree from Wayne State University and is a member of the Michigan State Bar.