MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/. Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has completed the deal to sell the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and its Barclays Center arena to Canadian billionaire Joseph Tsai, the team’s press service said.
Last year, the Canadian entrepreneur already bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets’ shares for $1 billion. This August saw him buying up the remaining 51% from 54-year old Prokhorov, paying a whopping $1.35 billion in accordance with the agreement inked along with the last year’s deal (Tsai has secured the right to acquire the rest of the shares before the 2021-2022 season). The Nets strengthened their ranks in the offseason, signing NBA champions Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in a remarkable free agent deal.
"We have an incredible group of players who want to win, and because of their talent and hard work, we are now in a great position to compete. I am thrilled to be partners with winners!" the statement quoted Tsai as saying.
The New York Times report that the overall deal hit $2.35 billion, a record for the sports industry. Previously, the record was set at $2.2 billion, David Tepper paid this amount to buy the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, while Tillman Fertitta singed a contract worth the same amount to gain ownership over the NBA's Houston Rockets.
Russian billionaire and former presidential candidate Prokhorov, 54, bought the then New Jersey Nets in 2010 and 45% of the shares in Barclays Center for $223 million and later relocated the club to Brooklyn, which has a large Russian-speaking population.
He owned 80% of the Brooklyn Nets and 45% of Barclays Center until December 2015, when he gained full control of the team and the sports arena. According to Bloomberg reports at that time, the Russian tycoon paid an additional $875 million in December 2015 for the club and $825 million for Barclays Center.
Fifty-five-year old Tsai is one of the founders and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group. The Internet holding manages such marketplaces as Aliexpress, Tmall.com, Taobao.com. The Forbes estimate his net worth at $9.9 billion.