Nets, Guggenheim Talks Hit Snag

Talks between Guggenheim investors and Nets executives have stalled, reports Josh Kosman of the New York Post. Kosman hears that the discussion about a merger of assets that would give Guggenheim a share of Nets ownership is unlikely to resume, but sources indicate to Robert Windrem of NetsDaily that negotiations are not necessarily at an end. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov still wants to cash out part of his majority stake in the franchise, but potential buyers are balking at the idea of shelling out a high price for a portion of a team that Prokhorov would still control, Kosman explains.

The Nets are seeking to sell part of the team based on a $1.8 billion valuation of the entire franchise, according to Kosman. That’s $100MM more than the higher of the two valuations the Nets were reportedly discussing with Guggenheim and $800MM greater than the valuation Brooklyn’s brass was seeking early in the offseason. A source who spoke to Kosman contended that Guggenheim doesn’t have the money available to meet the Nets’ asking price, a claim that’s difficult to believe based on the company’s willingness to spend lavishly on the Dodgers. A Guggenheim spokesperson denied any lack of funds, Kosman notes.

Still, the arm of Guggenheim that’s been involved in the Nets discussion, known as Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets, is different from the one called Guggenheim Baseball Management that owns the Dodgers, a source told Windrem. Kosman, in his story, makes reference to talks that execs from Guggenheim Baseball Management had with the Nets, though it could be that the same officials oversee both corners of the Guggenheim empire.

A Guggenheim spokesperson told Kosman that the Nets never made a proposal and that Dodgers CEO Mark Walter had no interest in securing a stake in the NBA team for his company. However, Walter told Kosman a week ago that he hoped a Guggenheim-Nets merger would take place but hadn’t seen any financial data on the Brooklyn franchise or the Barclays Center arena. Guggenheim president Todd Boehly reportedly met with Prokhorov, Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner and Nets CEO Brett Yormark a couple of weeks ago in Moscow.

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