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Nets' 49% share said to be sold, with overall valuation at record $2.3B

Joseph Tsai, the executive vice chairman and co-founder of Chinese e-commerce goliath Alibaba, has reached an agreement in principle to purchase a 49 percent minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets that includes the option to acquire controlling interest of the NBA franchise in several years, league sources told ESPN.
The purchase price will be based upon a $2.3 billion valuation of the team, league sources said.
Mikhail Prokhorov will remain principal and operating owner of the Nets for an additional four years, with a presumption that he will sell his majority stake upon the triggering of Tsai's option, league sources said.
That $2.3 billion (as per NetsDaily) is a record for sales (not valuations), and well above the $2 billion previously floated, which itself was well above Forbes's estimate earlier the year of the value of the team+arena at $1.8 billion. It's another sign that, had Forest City Enterprises/Forest City Ratner kept ownership (and ran the team well, not its core competency), it could've made some money

It's surely not a full bet on the Nets' profitability. From the article:
Without Barclays Center, the deal represents another big bet on the future of the NBA -- and on the power of Brooklyn as a market. The Nets on their own have been huge money-losers since they moved to Brooklyn, according to internal league financial documents obtained by ESPN.
The Nets lost $144 million on basketball-related activities in 2013-14, the largest such figure in the league that season by more than $100 million.
Well, their costs are much lower now, and revenues higher, but it's still probably wise to think about NBA teams--a very scarce commodity--as "paintings for billionaires," as Jay-Z once said.

Flashback: Prokhorov's plans

Remember this March 2010 interview with Bloomberg? "Are you buying the Nets forever or is this a short-term business deal and in five years you're going to flip the company?" Chilcote asks.

"For me, it's a strategic investment," Prokhorov says.

"Bridge your way into America," Chilcote adds.

"If you buy a business forever, that means it's not a business. It's a hobby," says Prokhorov with a smile. "And if your business reaches the peak, you sell. But it's not high time to speak about that."

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