HOOP DREAMS

Try as they may, private equity guys cannot resist the allure of sports team ownership. The latest GPs to get sports fever are Jim Davidson, a partner at tech buyout biggie Silver Lake Partners, and Fred Harman, apartner at Oak Investment Partners. Davidson and Harman have joined Michael Marks and John Thompson, CEOs of Flextronics International and Symantec, respectively, in buying a 20 percent stake in San Francisco's Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team. “It was an opportunity to invest in a good team that has made a lot of good decisions over the past few years,” Davidson told Dow Jones, adding that his involvement with Silver Lake, which just closed a $3.6 billion Fund II. Businesses built around sweaty men in jerseys have attracted GPs in the past. In 2002, Bain Capital partner Stephen Pagliuca and Highland Capital Partners' Wycliffe Grousbeck teamed to buy the Boston Celtics basketball team for $360 million. The same year, Chartwell Investments – then led by Todd Berman – agreed to buy the Buffalo Sabres hockey team. Nigel Doughty, the head of London's Doughty Hanson, is also chairman of the Arsenal football club. And of course, Tom Hicks, co-founder of Texas' Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, will soon step down from a long career in private equity to spend more time with the Taxas Rangers baseball team and the Dallas Stars, a hockey team, both of which are owned by the Hicks family.