The New York Post reports that among the leading candidates to buy the Nets are two foreign investment groups, Fosun of China, an insurance-based group, and the Qatari Investment Authority, the entity that manages that emirate's wealth.
Although the Post reports, as did the Financial Times last week, that no sale is imminent, it presents the longest and most detailed list of potential investors, including the two foreign suitors as well as Dick Parsons, the former Time Warner CEO who ran the Clippers between Donald Sterling's ban and Steve Ballmer's arrival; music and movie mogul David Geffen, whose interest has previously been reported.
However, hours after the Post reported Geffen's interest, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg tweeted that he was not interested.
The Post's Josh Kosman and Claire Atkinson said as well that "at least two wealthy US families have also expressed an interest in the Nets." Previous reports had the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Jobs, and controversial hedge fund manager Steve Cohen among those interested.
QIA may be the more intriguing of the two foreign investors. Through its Qatari Sports Investments, it purchased Paris Saint Germain, a French soccer team, in 2011, and made it one of the richest in the world. It also has an extensive sponsorship deal with F.C. Barcelona, the Spanish sports powerhouse. Last month, there were rumors of QSI interest in the Red Bulls.
Fosun has recently begun investing in leisure activities, taking a big position in Club Med and investing more than $100 billion in Chinese resorts. It is a private entity, unrelated to Greenland, the state-owned company that has taken a large position in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, of which Barclays is the anchor.
The Nets have been cagey about their desire to sell, with executives offering different perspectives on ownership's willingness to sell. There may even been some internal division within Mikhail Prokhorov's ONEXIM Group on how to proceed. There has been some suggestion that ONEXIM might want to sell only 49 percent of the team initially, then the rest later. It's all been complicated, the FT reports, by whether the team and/or the arena are for sale. The Post reports Prokhorov wants to sell the two separately, fearing a single, large price tag might scare some bidders away.
The Post reports another complication.
Some believe delaying the Nets sale is Silver’s goal. The Atlanta Hawks also are for sale, with bids said to be around $900 million, and the NBA may not want prospective buyers to be split between the teams. China’s Fosun is also in the bidding for the Hawks, sources said.
Similarly, Sports Business Journal notes Monday, "the Brooklyn Nets are also on the market, though it appears that sale will wait out the Hawks process."
- Play for Brooklyn Nets sale goes global - Josh Kosman & Claire Atkinson - New York Post