The Post’s Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman report that there are multiple investors interested in buying the Nets, but Mikhail Prokhorov wants top dollar for the team — and remains unconvinced as to whether he should sell the whole thing or a minority stake.
The Russian billionaire is demanding a valuation of around $2 billion for his money-losing NBA team — near the record-setting $2.2 billion price that the Houston Rockets fetched earlier this month, sources told The Post.
In recent days, prospective bidders have been pushing Prokorov to sell control of the team immediately, versus his recent pitch to sell an initial minority stake along with the right to take control in three years, insiders said.
The Rockets deal included the team’s lease on Toyota Center in Houston while Prokhorov wants to hold on to Barclays Center, Lewis and Kosman report. (It’s hard to imagine Prokhorov not wanting a higher price for a team in the NBA’s biggest market, no matter what the conditions. One league source told NetsDaily that some inside the Nets believe the valuation for the team and the arena could reach $3 billion.)
The Post reporters wrote several groups who are interested, but didn’t identify them.
Prospective bidders are said to include at least two New York financial titans, as well as a Texas-based buyer group that lost the Houston Rockets auction to billionaire Tilman Fertitta.
Still another bidding group is connected to Dave Checketts, the former president of the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden, two sources said.
The Checketts group, the Post reports, is likely led by Asian investors, but the name most associated with Checketts, Joseph Tsai of Alibaba, the big Chinese e-commerce company, has twice denied interest. Tsai, who has two degrees from Yale, holds both Taiwanese and Canadian citizenship.
Lewis and Kosman also speculate that one of the Texas groups could be headed by Houston-based furntiture magnate and Tea Party supporter Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale. He lost out on a bid for the Rockets.
How soon might a deal be struck? The Post reports that it could be within the coming days or weeks, but notes as well that Prokhorov is still not convinced he should sell immediately.
“They’re asking, but I don’t think he’s giving in,” one source close to the talks told the Post.
- Brooklyn Nets owner eyes outrageous price tag in sale - Josh Kosman & Brian Lewis - New York Post