Wesley Edens, Marc Lasry Purchase Bucks

MAY 15TH, 6:12pm: The league has unanimously approved the sale of the Bucks to Edens and Lasry, per the team (Twitter link).

APRIL 16TH, 3:02pm: Edens says he’d like to see the arena built within a couple of years, and suggests that the $200MM puts the team halfway toward the price of the new building, as Woelfel tweets.

2:49pm: Edens and Lasry will put $100MM toward the construction of a new arena in addition to the purchase price of the team, Gardner tweets. Kohl will also give $100MM for the arena, the team announced (Twitter link).

2:43pm: Kohl announced in a press conference that he’s transferring full ownership of the club to Edens and Lasry, pending league approval, as Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes via Twitter.

11:34am: Longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl will announce the sale of the team to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry later today, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The sale of what’s presumably a majority stake in the team to the hedge fund billionaires will be subject to league approval, but Kohl made keeping the team in Milwaukee a condition of the deal, Stein adds (Twitter link). Grantland’s Bill Simmons first identified Edens and Lasry as having been close to purchasing the team last week. The sale price is $550MM, according to Stein.

Edens is a principal and co-chairman of the Board of Directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC, while Lasry is the CEO of Avenue Capital Group. Forbes.com pegs Lasry’s net worth at $1.7 billion. Other suitors made late bids to purchase the team, Simmons wrote, but it appears that Edens and Lasry have emerged with a deal.

Part of the cost of the team will be redirected into funding a new arena in Milwaukee, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. It seems likely that Edens and Lasry aren’t shelling out the full $550MM, but rather paying a percentage of that based on a valuation of the entire franchise at that price. Vivek Ranadive and his partners last year paid about $348MM to purchase 65% of the Kings, who were valued at a total of more than $534MM.

There have been several rumored to be in the mix for all or part of the Bucks in recent months, including Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, agent Arn Tellem, former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo, former Wolves GM David Kahn, one-time Bucks player Junior Bridgeman, and Milwaukee health care executive Jon Hammes.

Kohl announced in December that he was seeking to sell minority shares in the club, but Woelfel reported about a month ago that Kohl was close to selling a majority stake. He’s campaigned for a new arena to replace the nearly 25-year-old Bradley Center, though it appears that finding public funding to built it will be difficult. Kohl’s apparent decision to use a portion of his take from the sale to foot the bill for the arena fits with Woelfel’s report from January that suggests the former U.S. Senator wants the new home for the Bucks to be an important part of his legacy in the area. Woelfel wrote then that Kohl was considering giving more than $100MM toward the building’s construction.

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