No One Stands As tall As When One Stoops To Help A Child

NBA Minnesota Timberwolves


  In the mid-1990’s there was much anguish in Minnesota as the founding owners of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves franchise, Marvin Wolfenson and Harvey Ratner, decided to sell the NBA team.

       For over one year many individuals, consultants, and groups of investors held ‘on-again/off-again talks’ but failed in their many attempts to raise the necessary capital and to structure a deal to purchase of the Timberwolves.  Much to the dismay of Minnesotans, when a deal was finally reached to sell the team, it was to a group of investors who wanted to move the team to New Orleans.

       After hearing the announcement on the radio, entrepreneur Edward Villaume decided he needed to take action to keep the team in Minnesota.  Within two days he had created his strategic plan to purchase the team.  He made a couple phones calls and received assurances from Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank for the debt financing portion of the deal.  He spoke with potential investors and then set a meeting with Marty Kanter, the accountant for Mr. Wolfenson and Mr. Ratner, to discuss his plan.

       Mr. Villaume met with Mr. Kanter to discuss his plan.  Mr. Kanter saw the merit of the plan and agreed to discuss it with Mr. Wolfenson and Mr. Ratner.

During the next couple days Mr. Villaume solidified his investor group and called Glen Taylor as a possible ‘lead investor’.  Mr. Taylor knew little of the Timberwolves basketball team and knew nothing of the finances of professional sports franchises, but after listening to Mr. Villaume’s plan, he was very interested.  The two men spoke a few times on the phone, discussing the financial structures of professional sports, and the details, financing, and structure of the Villaume plan.  Mr. Taylor was not only impressed by Mr. Villaume’s plan for this deal, but also with his ideas for additional deals.

       Before the end of the first week, Mr. Kanter invited Mr. Villaume to meet with Mr. Wolfenson and Mr. Ratner in their office at Northwest Racquet Club.  In that meeting, the current owners were very intrigued by the young Mr. Villaume and his insight not only into the business aspects of a deal, but also in his personal approach to the business deal.

Mr. Villaume suggested the next step was to bring the principles of the deal together for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the deal, and to more importantly determine if they could all work together.

Three days later Mr. Villaume introduced Glen Taylor to Mr. Wolfenson, Mr. Ratner, and Mr. Kanter, in the Northwest Racquet Club office.  The meeting was fruitful and the principles agreed to a deal and shook hands.

Before the end of the second week (from when Mr. Villaume created his plan), a press conference was called to announce the sale/purchase of the Minnesota Timberwolves for $88.5 million dollars by a group of investors who vowed to keep the team in Minnesota.

       In less than ten business days, Edward Villaume had succeeded in creating, structuring, and executing a deal to keep the team in Minnesota.  Mr. Villaume’s skill in identifying problems and discovering solutions, creating and executing new ideas, is the main reason the Minnesota Timberwolves remain in Minnesota today.