The rumor about Mikhail Prokhorov selling the Brooklyn Nets is gaining momentum once again.
At the right price?
After admitting in the previous months that he was gauging the value of the Nets, sources are now saying that Mikhail Prokhorov “has expressed to at least one interested party that he is willing to give up majority control of the Nets for the right price.”
That right price, according to one of the sources, is said to be composed of $1.2B for the Nets franchise and $1.1B for the Barclays Center. However, the same source said that with the amount involved, it’s likely that a “group on investors” is involved.
Combination of assets
Confirmed reports say that the Nets ownership recently met with the Guggenheim Sports and Entertainment Assets. ESPN also reported that Prokhorov, CEO Brett Yormark and minority owner Bruce Ratner met with Guggenheim President Todd Boehly in Russia earlier this week. Guggenheim Sports purchased the controlling interest of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013 for a record amount of $2.15B.
The reports also say that the discussions for a “combination of assets is ongoing” and there is no deadline for the “conclusion of the discussions.” Under this scenario, the combined assets of the “new entity “could be as high as $8B. Prokhorov would still “retain control of the Nets” while Ratner will “maintain control of the Barclays Center.”
Dodgers not included
The scope of the “combination of assets” remains unclear and could only apply to the Brooklyn Nets. Guggenheim CEO and Los Angeles Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter made it clear that the Dodgers would not be involved in any talks with the Nets’ ownership. He said that as the controlling owner of the Dodgers, he has “no intention of selling the team or moving them into a new ownership group.”
However, Walter admitted that the Nets are “a terrific franchise” and he would be happy to read their financials and proposal.
Is Prokhorov serious?
Despite Prokhorov’s proclamation last June that they “will continue in 2015 what they have already started”, there have been doubts on how much more he is willing to spend to win the NBA title. Aside from the fact that Paul Pierce and head coach Jason Kidd are gone, the team lost $144M in basketball related business last season-$131M more than the next losing team. The Nets broke the NBA record by paying out $90M in luxury tax alone.
Prokhorov bought the Nets in 2010 and established a “five year plan” to bring an NBA title to New York. He even said that he would “punish himself by taking a bride” if he fails on his promise to give the Nets a title. Coincidentally, that five year plan expires next year and maybe Comrade Prokhorov should start looking for a bride to be, if he still doesn’t have one yet.