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As ownership talks continue, Forest City pays its bill to Mikhail Prokhorov

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday was the deadline for Forest City Enterprises, Bruce Ratner's parent company, to pay off its loans to Mikhail Prokhorov's ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, its share of debt incurred over the past two seasons when the Nets lost an enormous amount of money.

If the deadline, twice delayed, passed without a payment, Ratner's share of the team would have dropped from 20 percent to eight.  FCE decided to pay off the loans, believing its share of any sale would be a lot bigger than what was owed.

Mike Mazzeo reports Forest City agreed to make the payment, preserving its 20 percent ownership of the Nets ... and giving it more time to continue talking with Prokhorov on a larger scale deal involving the team and Barclays Center...

Left unexplained was why only $26.3 million when previously, Forest City had said the debt amounted to $31.3 million, $25 million for the team's first two years in Brooklyn and $6.3 million this past season.

in a statement, FCE said, the funding of the payment "does not impact the company's previously disclosed intention to seek a sale of its interest in the Nets, and it remains in active discussions with interested parties for a potential sale.  There can be no assurance that the company will close on the sale of a portion or all of its ownership interest on terms favorable to it or at all."

The Post reported last week that the two parties are in discussions for Prokhorov to buy out Ratner's stakes in both the team and arena.