Nets minority shareholder Joseph Tsai, who currently owns 49% of the franchise, is set to assume control of the remaining 51% earlier than expected, according to Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
As Kosman and Lewis report, Tsai is close to signing a deal to complete the purchase that will give him full control of the Nets. The move is expected to be announced next week, according to The Post.
When Tsai first bought a 49% stake in the Nets in April 2018, Mikhail Prokhorov retained control of the remaining 51% with an understanding that Tsai would have the option to buy him out within three years. It appears that buyout will happen just 16 months later.
At the time of Tsai’s initial purchase, the Nets were given a valuation of $2.35 billion, with Tsai paying $1 billion for his 49% stake. As Kosman and Lewis confirm, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba will pay $1.35 billion for the other 51%. The total cost of $2.35 billion will mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise, according to The Post.
Tsai, who is worth an estimated $9.9 billion, is also in talks to purchase the Barclays Center, as Kosman and Lewis note. The native of Taiwan is a member of NBA China and is expected to help the league grow its presence in China.
Tsai appears to have bought into the Nets at the right time — when he completed his initial purchase, the team was coming off a 28-54 performance. The club boosted that mark to 42-40 last season, then made a huge splash in free agency by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.