The New York Post reports Wednesday night that Mikhail Prokhorov's plan to gain control of the Nets and Barclays Center has been delayed by NBA concerns over how much debt the Nets would take on. But a league source says there are "no game-stoppers" in the planned acquisition and it's still expected to go through.
Prokhorov currently owns 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of the arena. Under the proposed deal, the Russian oligarch would buy the remainder of both from Bruce Ratner, his longtime partner. The consolidation is part of a larger plan, which has already resulted in Prokhorov closing on a deal that will give his ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment 85 percent of the entity that is renovating Nassau Coliseum.
However, the Post reports that the NBA has concerns about the Nets debt load, calling it an "obstacle." Prokhorov assumed 80 percent of the Nets $200 million debt when he bought his share of the team in 2010. He later refinanced it, dropping the interest rate. The consolidation would apparently add to the debt. The NBA has a $250 million debt limit per team.
Josh Kosman and Tim Bontemps report...
The Russian billionaire has been seeking to buy full ownership of the team and arena from real estate developer Forest City Enterprises since September.
But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held up the sale as structured because it would push the team over the league’s $250 million debt cap, sources said.
"The NBA didn’t provide a waiver," said one source.
That said, a league source tells NetsDaily there are no "game stoppers" and that the deal is still expected to go through before year's end. There's been no indication of how the deal would be structured, but each asset is likely valued at no less than $1 billion.
Meanwhile, Norman Oder, critic and chronicler of the overall Atlantic Yards project, reports that Ratner's parent company, Forest City Enterprises, has until December 28 to settle its operating debt with Prokhorov's ONEXIM. That's a likely deadline for the consolidation deal to get done.
- NBA debt ceiling forces Prokhorov to rework Nets, Barclays deal - Josh Kosman & Tim Bontemps - New York Post
Post reports Prokhorov deal for Nets/arena slowed by league rule; Forest City noncommittal; capital call postponed until end of year - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report