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Bruce Ratner wants to keep part of Barclays Center ... and continue to manage it

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Bruce Bennett

Despite a report last Monday that Barclays Center is for sale, sources close to Bruce Ratner told both the Wall Street Journal and Crain's New York that Bruce Ratner wants to maintain a position in the Nets' arena and continue to manage it.

Eliot Brown, who has covered the Atantic Yards (now Pacific Park) controversies for years, reported late Friday...

Left unclear is how much of Forest City’s 55% ownership stake in arena, which cost about $1 billion to construct, will be sold. The company is planning to keep some financial stake in the property, the official said, although the precise amount is subject to negotiation with a buyer. In addition, the company intends to keep managing the property.

On Monday, Sports Business Journal reported that the entire majority stake was in play...

The Barclays Center is up for sale, with investment bank Evercore Partners expected by next week, sources said, to formally begin selling Forest City Enterprises’ 55 percent stake in the Brooklyn arena.

As part of that story, author Daniel Kaplan suggested a $750 million valuation for the arena, which has been the most successful in the U.S. by some measures. That would be, as noted, substantially below coat of building the arena, which Ratner has pegged at nearly $1 billion.

On Saturday, Crain's writer Matthew Flamm used the term "strategic partner" in discussing what kind of relationship Ratner may want out of negotiations...

A Barclays Center spokesman characterized the move as a search for a strategic partner and said that the sale would not interfere with current operations. A person familiar with Forest City Ratner’s plans said the company was only looking to sell a portion of its 55% stake.

Of course, a strategic partnership is just want Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov were (are?) looking for in their talks with Guggenheim Partners CEO Todd Boehly earlier this month in Moscow.  Those talks, according to various sources, were about a "combination of assets" between ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, Prokhorov's holding company that controls the Nets and is a minority partner in the arena; Forest City Ratner and a Guggenheim affiliate, Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets. According to those familiar with the talks, Ratner valued the arena at $1.1 billion for the purposes of combining assets. Another Guggenheim partnership and individuals associated with the firm control the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The status of those talks remains uncertain.

It's believed Prokhorov, who owns 45 percent of the arena, has a right of first refusal on the Ratner stake, if he chooses to exercise it.