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Exclusive: Harlem Globetrotters, clown princes of basketball, for sale - sources

By Olivia Oran and Ronald Grover

(Reuters) - The Harlem Globetrotters - the highflying exhibition basketball team that has toured the world for decades - are on the block.

The Globetrotters, known for their trick shots, slick passing and comedy routines, are being sold by their private equity owner, Shamrock Capital Advisors, according to four sources familiar with the process.

The team, which has been held since 2005 by Los Angeles-based Shamrock, is being shopped by Piper Jaffray, the sources said. The process is in the second round, two of the sources said, with the team likely fetching between $50 million to $100 million.

Founded in 1926, the Globetrotters have played more than 25,000 games around the world, very rarely losing to their long-time opponent, the hapless Washington Generals.

Past legends who played on the team include Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon, known by many as the "clown prince of basketball." The team was the subject of a Saturday morning cartoon in the 1970s and later washed up on the shore of "Gilligan's Island."

The group also gained attention in March after visiting North Korea alongside Dennis Rodman.

Neither a spokeswoman for Shamrock nor a partner at the firm could be reached for comment. Piper Jaffray could not be reached for comment.

Initially founded as the family investment company of Roy Disney, Shamrock owns 80 percent of the Globetrotters, which it purchased from former player and Honeywell executive Mannie Jackson.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York and Ronald Grover in Los Angeles; editing by Michael Erman)

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