Seattle investor lifts bid for Sacramento Kings

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(Reuters) - A Seattle investor group vying to purchase the National Basketball Association's Sacramento Kings team has vastly increased its offer to buy the franchise, hoping to wrest momentum away from a Sacramento group that wants the team to stay in California.

Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen posted on his website that his group's new offer would now value the team at $625 million, up $75 million from a prior offer.

Hansen is fighting to buy the team to bring it to Seattle, which lost its beloved SuperSonics in 2008. Last month, Hansen's bid suffered a setback when a committee of NBA owners voted that the team should stay in Sacramento.

But Hansen vowed to fight on. Under the new bid, his Seattle investor group would shell out about $406 million for a controlling interest in the team.

In Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a former NBA player, said Hansen's latest bid should not change things.

The Kings "belong in Sacramento," Johnson said, adding: "I believe the NBA owners realize that there is far more to think about than just an increased bid."

Next Tuesday, owners of the NBA's 30 teams are scheduled to vote on which city should keep the team at a meeting in Dallas.

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