From the time Joe Tsai purchased a minority stake in the Nets three years ago, Joe Tsai has always seen the NBA as a good investment. Not only does he see value in the Nets, he sees value in holding a 1/30th stake in the league which shares much of its revenue equally among franchises.
Now, Josh Kosman, who covers sports business for The Post, says his latest investment in the league has raised some ire among rival owners. It involves a Tsai investment in a fund that’s aimed at helping struggling NBA franchises get through the pandemic and related financial issues.
The billionaire co-founder of China-based e-commerce giant Alibaba is poised to take a stake of less than 5 percent in the firm behind HomeCourt Partners, a fund that has won special permission from the NBA to raise $2 billion to buy small stakes in numerous basketball franchises, many of which are now losing money.
Although Tsai doesn’t own a stake in HomeCourt Partners itself, there is concern, Kosman reports, that Tsai —and thus the Nets— could get inside information on other teams’ finances. Kosman notes that league rules prohibit individuals from owning a piece of more than one team, directly or indirectnly . Specifically, here’s how it would work...
Tsai aims to close the deal through his Hong Kong-based hedge fund Blue Pool, which owns a stake in Owl Rock Capital, a direct lender that’s in the process of merging with Dyal Capital, the private equity firm behind HomeCourt.
Normally, NBA team ownership stakes are sold directly to individuals. But the NBA has given Dyal, a unit of asset manager Neuberger Berman, special permission to raise money.
The NBA has not yet studied the issue, according to Kosman who quoted an NBA spokesman as saying, “It’s premature to comment given that the Owl Rock/Dyal transaction hasn’t happened and the league has yet to review it.”
Tsai declined to comment as well, reports Kosman.
“Either Tsai is going to have to get a waiver from the league or figure out a way to exit these stakes,” a former NBA team CEO familiar with the ownership rules said.
- Rivals crying foul over Nets owner Joe Tsai’s latest business venture - Josh Kosman - New York Post