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WSJ: Bruce Ratner planning to sell remaining stake in Brooklyn Nets

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Bruce Bennett

Eliot Brown, who has long covered the Atlantic Yards saga, reports Tuesday that Bruce Ratner, who brought the Nets to Brooklyn, in now interested in selling his remaining stake in the team.

Developer Bruce Ratner is looking to sell his company’s 20% stake in the Brooklyn Nets, and has tapped investment bank Evercore Partners to advise him on the sale, according to multiple people familiar with the team.

Ratner's Nets Sports and Entertainment partnership bought the Nets a decade ago and originally owned 100 percent of the team. He then sold 80 percent to Mikhail Prokhorov in 2010 --along with 45 percent of the arena. During the six years he was principal owner, the Nets suffered financial losses while community opposition and a faltering economy delayed the arena that became known as Barclays Center.  Those losses in turn led to losses on the court as the team couldn't compete for free agents. 

Based on recent sales of NBA teams, the Nets could be worth close to $1 billion, according to team insiders. However, the team is losing money and apparently the proposed sale doesn't include the 55 percent of Barclays Center. The teams losses were originally picked up by Forest City Enterprises, Ratner's parent firm, but in the past year, Ratner has assumed the losses, according to FCE reports and Nets sources.

Ratner, 69, also recently sold a majority stake in the 15-tower Atlantic Yards project to a Chinese government-owned firm for $200 million. He is about to spend, along with other partners, more than $200 million to rehab the Nassau Coliseum.

Attempts to get comment from the Nets or Ratner failed.