Prokhorov sells minority stake in Brooklyn Nets

Oct 28, 2017, 01:00
Prokhorov sells minority stake in Brooklyn Nets

A Taiwan-born co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba has agreed to buy almost half of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets with an option to eventually take over controlling interest from current majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, ESPN reported Friday, citing unidentified sources.

The agreement, first reported by ESPN, would see Tsai take over majority control of the team in four years and could open the door to him relocating the Nets franchise to San Diego, which has not had an National Basketball Association team since the Clippers relocated to Los Angeles in 1984.

Tsai, co-founder of Alibaba, the world's largest online retailer, is worth nearly $11 billion, according to Bloomberg.

No basketball responsibilities-yet: According to the ESPN report, Tsai will not oversee any business or basketball as part of his 49 percent stake in the Nets. Onexim - a company controled by Prokhorov - bought the remaining 20 percent of the team and 55 percent of the arena in 2015.

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The price tag is $100 million more than the record $2.2 billion Tilman Fertitta paid for the Houston Rockets last month. Prokhorov bought complete control of the Nets in 2015 after first purchasing a majority of shares in 2010. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $8.8 billion. Prokhorov has a net worth of $11.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Nets and Barclays Center were valued at $875 million and $825 million, respectively, in that deal, according to Newsday.

The team has made significant strides under new general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson, but after finishing the 2016-17 season with an NBA-worst 20-62 record, they have a very long way to go.

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