Alibaba Founder Joseph Tsai Agrees to Buy 49% of Nets

Lawrence Cooper
October 28, 2017

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, Taiwanese-Canadian businessman Joseph Tsai is set to purchase a 49-percent stake in the Nets-with the ability to become controlling owner within a few years.

Despite efforts to bring in profits through low payrolls and increased ticket sales, the Nets have been consistently losing money for the National Basketball Association since they moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey in 2012.

The Barclay's Center is also included.

Prokhorov took an 80 percent stake in the then-New Jersey Nets in 2010 before moving the team to Brooklyn in 2012 and taking full ownership in 2015. That purchase from real estate developer Bruce Ratner's Forest City Enterprises Inc. valued the team at $875 million and the building at $825 million, including debt. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $8.8 billion.

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ESPN earlier reported on the sale. With a high payroll and poor record, Brooklyn reportedly lost over $44 million last season.

Prokhorov will remain owner of the Barclays Center, the Nets' home since the franchise moved to Brooklyn, though the Nets are expected to continue to play at the facility. They didn't. The Nets haven't had a winning season since the 2013-14 campaign, finishing last season with a 20-62 record. Even with ESPN losing subscribers, those so-called rights fees show no signs of abating as new bidders such as, Facebook and Twitter wade into the distribution of sports content, including live games.

The deal values the US basketball team at around $2.3 billion, the sources, who declined to speak for attribution because they are not permitted to speak to the press, said. The stake comes with an option to take over as majority owner in 2021.

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