3:27pm: Woelfel wouldn’t be surprised if the new owners aren’t among those previously reported to be in the mix (Twitter link).
APRIL 15TH, 3:20pm: Kohl has selected the group he’ll sell to, Woelfel tweets. Woelfel doesn’t specify whether it’s a majority or minority stake that’ll change hands, but judging from his reporting to this point, he’s likely referring to a controlling interest in the Bucks.
APRIL 11TH: The NBA’s Board of Governors will likely make the Bucks one of the primary topics of discussion at their meeting next week, and there’s a “distinct possibility” that they’ll reveal new ownership for the team, according to Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. A pair of reports refuted Woelfel’s assertion last month that longtime owner Herb Kohl was likely to give up control of the team this spring, but Woelfel once more suggests a principal stake in the team is up for grabs.
Kohl has set the price at $500MM, Woelfel writes, which scared off potential investor Craig Leipold, who is the majority owner of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. Still, there are a number of other buyers who appear to be in play, as Woelfel details. Mark Attanasio, the principal owner of baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers, partnered with former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley when he was reportedly close to buying the Bucks last year, but Heisley’s poor health has caused him to drop out of the mix. Attanasio nonetheless has strong ties to Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co., the firm that Kohl has hired to conduct the sale of the team, as does agent Arn Tellem, another rumored suitor, according to Woelfel.
Red Sox chairman and former Padres owner Tom Werner is also in the running for the Bucks, and so is a group of investors from Chicago, Woelfel reports. Former Raptors and Suns executive Bryan Colangelo appears to be linked to the Chicago group, and some around the league tell Woelfel that they believe there’s a chance he’ll head up the team’s basketball operations if the Chicago investors wind up taking over the team.
Health care executive Jon Hammes in the running, most likely for a minority stake, Woelfel writes. Woelfel reiterates the rumors connecting one-time Bucks player Junior Bridgeman and former Timberwolves GM David Kahn to the sale of the team. Chicago-based entrepreneur and neuropsychologist Dr. Richard Chaifetz has publicly expressed interest in owning an NBA team, Woelfel notes, but it’s not clear if he’s connected to the other Chicago investors.
Kohl and the NBA have been aggressively seeking a new arena for the Bucks in Milwaukee, and though it appears that security public funding will be an uphill fight, Kohl has been intent on ensuring the franchise remains in local hands. The principal figure in a group of investors from Seattle, which nearly became the new home of the Kings last year, recently said that he and his partners remain poised to bring an NBA team to the Emerald City.