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Ratner on the Nets: "I think we're going to do well as a business"

Excerpts of Bruce Ratner's comments regarding plans for the Nets and their new arena at Forest City Enterprises' March 13 conference call for investors. Ratner can be heard on the audio feed beginning at 00:59:58 and takes questions on the Nets at 01:11:00...

"It's (the arena) on its way to be entitled, probably in early fall, middle fall of this year. We should have our entitlements, and start construction in the next four or five months after that.

"We are the principal owners of the Nets basketball team. It's been a real experience for me personally, I must say. I now go to the games. I'm probably the best fan. There are 41 games. I try to go to all of them unless I'm out of town. It was really the lynchpin of this development. Without the basketball team and the arena, we wouldn't really be able to do this development. It created the opportunity...We very often start out our projects with an arena. In this case, its an arena and a basketball team and I think both will be very, very successful.

"We're about 20 percent, 22 per cent. Right now the basketball team, well, it's losing money. When it moves to Brooklyn, it should make money...it's all projections. It's actually doing quite well. We have about a 20 per cent increase this year in ticket sales and revenues. I look at it as a business and I think we're going to do well as a business honestly. I really do, both in terms of ultimate value and as well as in making money. Eventually, we will break even on the operating side. It's actually, I think, a business you can do decently well with. Like everything else, we've done a great job at putting the correct management in place. It's kind of exciting because I look at it as kind of a business challenge. I think it's one we're really up do. The arena also. The arena will be brand new, Frank Gehry. It will do extremely well, I think. The arena is also going to make money together with the team. We project a decent amount of cash flow going out in 2009-10.

"In the case of the basketball team, we own a little over 20 per cent. In the case of the arena, we own about 22 per cent. In the case of the real estate, we own about 55 per cent. So, that's what our position is."