Private equity investor and Grizzlies minority owner Steve Kaplan is progressing toward a deal with Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor that would see him purchase a 30% share of the Wolves and eventually take over a controlling interest from Taylor, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. The sides have reached agreement on the 30% stake and the purchase price for it, Zgoda writes, but Taylor cautioned to Zgoda that the deal is not yet done. Kaplan’s side must complete its vetting process, and the sides still need legal documentation and NBA approval, Taylor said to Zgoda. Kaplan must also sell his portion of the Grizzlies, Zgoda adds.
The 30% share is larger than the approximately 20% that the sides were talking about last month, when Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the discussion, though that’s no surprise, since the idea of a higher percentage came up in the conversations around that time, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. Taylor said shortly thereafter that he was also speaking to other prospective buyers, but he’s negotiating solely with Kaplan and his group now, Zgoda reports. Taylor has said that anyone who would take controlling interest from him must agree to keep the team in Minnesota, as Zgoda points out. It’s unclear when Kaplan would take over controlling interest as part of any would-be deal.
Kaplan had interest in buying the Hawks earlier this year before Antony Ressler purchased the franchise, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Forbes magazine pegged the value of the Wolves at $625MM, second lowest in the NBA, in January, though that number has likely changed since then.