Published: Fri, October 27, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Alibaba founder buys minority stake in Brooklyn Nets

Alibaba founder buys minority stake in Brooklyn Nets

Joseph Tsai's 49 percent minority stake in the franchise will be based on a $2.3 billion valuation, ESPN's league sources said.

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. That deal included operational control of the team's arena.

The 2015 sale valued the team at $1.7 billion.

The Nets lost $144 million in 2013-14, by far the worst in the league that season, ESPN reported, and lost more than $23 million last season.

Earlier this year, Prokhorov told Russian media he was in the process of selling 49 percent of the franchise.

In the meantime, Mikhail Prokhorov, who bought the then-New Jersey Nets in 2010, will remain the team's principal and operating owner.

They finished with the NBA's worst record previous year at 20-62, but have won three of their first five games this season, including a win over the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers.

On-court struggles aside, the sale comes at a time of ballooning franchise values across sports, a boom fueled in large part by media rights. It's unlikely that any of New York's other marquee teams - the Jets and Giants, baseball's Yankees and Mets, or basketball's Knicks and hockey's Rangers - will be on the market anytime soon.

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