Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is looking to sell 49% of his ownership stake in the franchise, he told Russian media this week, according to an Associated Press report. Per Prokhorov, “the process is going on and we are looking for a buyer.”
Prokhorov said back in the fall that he wanted to retain majority ownership of the Nets, but that he was interested in bringing in an investor to take on a minority share of the team — preferably, that owner would be a local one to strengthen the club’s presence in New York. As NetsDaily outlines, Prokhorov reiterated this week that he’s committed to the Nets and “will remain the majority owner of the team.”
League sources tell NetsDaily that in recent months a handful of potential buyers have approached either the NBA, Prokhorov’s investment bankers, or Allen & Co., the firm Prokhorov hired to identify possible investors. However, the NetsDaily report suggests that the asking price is high, and there’s some uncertainty about whether a minority investor would be given an option to eventually purchase a controlling interest in the team. There also may be a divide between the Nets and the NBA over whether a stake in the Barclays Center should be involved in any sale.
In February, Forbes valued the Nets franchise at $1.8 billion, which would mean that a 49% share in the team would approach $900MM. Teams that have been sold in the past have often fetched a higher return than Forbes’ valuations, so Prokhorov could be seeking an even higher price from a prospective buyer.