clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How close is Prokhorov to selling minority stake in Nets?

NBA: New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Is Mikhail Prokhorov close to selling up to 49 percent of the Nets ... and maybe Barclays Center too? Despite a firm denial by Joseph Tsai, co-founder of Alibaba, the big Chinese e-commerce firm, his name and others keep popping up in reports that a deal is imminent.

Josh Kosman of the Post wrote Friday...

There are multiple suitors late in the process to buy a 49-percent stake in the struggling NBA team, along with the right to buy a larger stake and become the controlling owner in three years, sources told The Post.

Kosman suggested that a deal may be close at hand. As we reported Friday...

Attempts to obtain comment from Prohorov or his No. 2, Dmitry Razumov, failed. Razumov was in New York this week. He sat courtside during the Nets preseason win over Miami. Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co., the big New York investment bank, is handling inquiries on the sale.

According to one league source, at least one of the groups involved is Asian. Chinese investors would have a tough time making a multi-billion dollar bid because of new Chinese financial regulations that limit large scale investments outside the country.

How might such a deal affect basketball operations? If the plan is for Prokhorov to completely divest his interest within three years, it would seem nothing much would change, at least short-term. Prokhorov has committed to financially backing Sean Marks’ moves.

Tsai, who holds both Taiwanese and Canadian passports, has been rumored as a possible investor in multiple reports, but he has twice denied it. In responding to a Reuters report this week, Tsai issued a statement through Alibaba that called reports of interest “false.” Last month, he issued a similar denial through his personal investment vehicle, Blue Pool Capital.

Tsai has an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion. He was educated in the U.S., first at Lawenceville School in Central New Jersey, then Yale where he earned undergraduate and law degrees.

Kosman said any proposed sale would not include Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, but other sources have told NetsDaily that the NBA would prefer the Nets sell equal parts of both the team and the arena. However, back in July, Prokhorov did get approval from the NBA Finance Committee to split up the Nets and Barclays Center in a sale.

Currently, the two are part of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, Prokhorov’s holding company that also includes Nassau Coliseum, the Long Island Nets, as well as rehab projects underway at two concert venues, the Paramount Theatre in Brooklyn and Webster Hall in Manhattan. BS&E also controls the New York Islanders’ business operations.

Prokhorov is seeking a better than $2 billion valuation for the team, sources told Kosman. On Friday, entertainment mogul Tilman Fertitta acquired the Houston Rockets and their lease on the Toyota Center for more than $2 billion.