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Bloomberg News: Prokhorov retains investment adviser to pursue sale of Brooklyn Nets

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Richard Denton

Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News reports that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has retained investment adviser Evercore Partners to sell his share of the Nets.  Evercore previously --and without success-- has tried to sell Bruce Ratner's minority stake in the team.  Other publications, notably the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as ESPN later confirmed the Bloomberg report ... at least to the extent that the Nets principal owner has engaged an investment adviser to test the waters.

Soshnick reports...

The Brooklyn Nets are for sale.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov retained Evercore Partners (EVR) to sell the National Basketball Association team he bought in 2010, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The people requested anonymity because the matter is private.

Ellen Pinchuk,, longtime Moscow-based spokesperson for Prokhorov, told NetsDaily...

As we have said for many months, ownership is always open to listening to offers – that’s just good business.  There is nothing imminent in terms of a sale of any stake in the team.

Later, in talking to the Times, she expanded on those comments.

"That’s his approach," Pinchuk told Richard Sandomir. "But nothing is imminent and nothing is in the works."

She added that Prokhorov recognized "that the value of the team has increased many times since he bought it."

"And he’s a businessman," Pinchuk said. "But beyond that, nothing has changed from our point of view."

Two team insiders told NetsDaily, "old story."  But Sandomir added that Prokhorov was "actively" seeking bids.

Alex Raskin of the Wall Street Journal reported the process began at the end of last year...

A person with direct knowledge of the Nets’ sales process confirmed that bankers at Evercore Partners , working on behalf of Prokhorov, began calling potential suitors late in 2014 to inform them that the team and the arena were on the market.

The Post's Tim Bontemps and Josh Kosman were the only reporters to suggest names of prospective owners.

Sports business insiders said possible Nets bidders would include Oracle executive Larry Ellison, private equity king David Bonderman and hedge fund mogul David Einhorn.

In the past, said one insider, David Geffen, the music and movie mogul, was reportedly interested in the team.

Prokhorov, who owns 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of Barclays Center, has reportedly been interested in selling part of the team and arena to capitalize on the dramatic increase in value for both NBA teams and arenas, particularly in light of the $550 million sale of the Bucks in 2013 and the $2 billion sale of the Clippers last year. Neither ownership group had any interest in the teams' arena.

The difference, according to Bloomberg, is that the Russian owners would be willing to sell control of the team rather than part of it.  A sale of the entire team, with control, would likely fetch a greater valuation than a share without control.

This summer, Prokhorov and Ratner were in talks with members of Guggenheim Partners, owners of the Dodgers, for a "combination of assets."  In early October, a source familiar with those talks told NetsDaily that Prokhorov would continue to control the team as "governor and controlling owner" of the team "for the foreseeable future."  That deal reportedly fell apart because the Nets owners were unwilling to take on more debt.

By some estimates, the combined value of Prokhorov's stakes could top $2 billion.