Prokhorov said to be selling 49% of the Nets, but that's not easy. Would share of team/arena be worth $1.6B?
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov wants to sell 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets, the professional basketball team in New York that he fully owns, according to RIA Novosti.The news, apparently, is not that Prokhorov wants to sell, given the six-month effort, but that he wants to sell just less than one half.
A buyer for the stake hasn’t been found yet, Prokhovov said, according to the news service. His spokesman didn’t comment immediately when contacted by Bloomberg News.
Prokhorov said in November that he’d hired Allen & Co. to find a local minority investor for the Nets “to further strengthen the team’s New York presence in order to expand upon our business and community relationships.” He didn’t say at that time how much of the club he planned to sell.
The more interesting question is how that local investor would "strengthen the team's New York presence" if the majority owner still would control all decision-making.
It sounds more likely that Prokhorov is trying to take some cash out of his investment. It's a curious time to be selling, though, since the Nets are still very much in rebuilding mode and--at least in the 2015-16 season--faced a dropoff in attendance.
NetsDaily reported on potential complications:
According to NBA sources, several prospective buyers have approached Allen & Co., his investment bankers, or league offices since November. However, the price is high and there is the issue of whether any minority investor would be granted an option to buy a controlling interest and when.Sale valuation
Also, the NBA reportedly wanted the Russian oligarch to sell equal stakes in the team and Barclays Center. The Nets resisted doing that. It’s unknown if ownership and the league have resolved the issue. The league reportedly believed there’s a potential for a conflict-of-interest without such a joint sale.
Forbes suggested that Prokhorov might be seeking at least $1.6 billion for non-controlling shares of the team and arena operating company, though one question is whether the NHL's New York Islanders stay. (Actually, there's mixed evidence regarding the Islanders' contribution to arena economics.)
But if he could get $1.6 billion, that would value the team and arena operating company at more than $3.2 billion.
That would double the valuation at the end of 2015, when his purchase of Forest City Enterprises' remaining stake of the Nets valued the team at $875 million, and his purchase of the developer's majority stake in the arena valued the operating company at $825 million.