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Nets owners quietly build entertainment company

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While a lot of journalistic energy has been expended on when and to whom Mikhail Prokhorov and Bruce Ratner will sell the Nets, the team's co-owners have quietly  been building an entertainment company to own and manage sports and entertainment venues ... much like James Dolan's MSG..

In addition to co-owning the Nets and Barclays Center, Ratner and Prokhorov have agreements to rehabilitate Nassau Coliseum and the Brooklyn Paramount Theatre. And there are plenty of hints that they are not stopping there.

"As we diversify into an entertainment company -- Barclays Center being the first step, we've got Nassau, and other announcements coming -- being in the venue space is important to us, as is identifying complimentary spaces " Brett Yormark told Billboard in January at the time of the Paramount agreement, "What's going on in Brooklyn is incredible, a downtown entertainment district with restaurants and smaller theaters."

With Barclays, a rehabbed Nassau and now the Paramount, Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment will control 35,000 seats in the New York area. Sources have told NetsDaily that the group is nearing another deal, but declined to provide further details other that it's in the New York area. And just last week, Yormark told the Hollywood Reporter that BS&E is looking to hire an executive in Los Angeles.

"Our goal is to create some scale in the New York metropolitan area," said Yormark, who's CEO of the venture. "And then beyond that selectively identify markets where it make sense for us to go. We will only go to places we can control and own."

In February, the group launched Brooklyn Direct, a programming division designed to work directly with agents and managers to book exclusive non-touring artists. Yormark said the division was needed because of "the expansion of our venue business."

There was even some talk, now apparently dormant, about going public, that is, selling stock in the company.

The model appears to be MSG, the Dolan-led corporation that owns the MSG channel, the Garden, the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty,  Radio City Music Hall, and the Beacon Theater, all in New York as well as the iconic Chicago Theatre, the Wang Theatre in Boston and The Forum, the Lakers' old venue, in L.A. (Last year, MSG announced it wants to spin off its entertainment businesses from its media and sports businesses.)

The fast-moving business would seem to be yet another indication that Prokhorov and Ratner aren't going anywhere soon.