Joseph Tsai, the billionaire Taiwanese-Canadian co-founder of world’s largest retailer Alibaba, will purchase 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets with an option to take over majority ownership of the franchise in four years, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.
This signals that Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire who bought the Nets in 2010 and moved them from New Jersey to Brooklyn, is getting out the NBA. ESPN reports that Prokhorov will maintain his stake in Barclays Center, where the Nets play.
Perhaps the most interesting news is the reported valuation for the Nets in this transaction: $2.3 billion, just more than the $2.2 billion Tilman Ferttita spent on the Houston Rockets earlier this year. That New York City market matter. Regardless, if you own an NBA team, now is a good time to sell.
The Nets have been rumored to be for sale regularly since Prokhorov’s attempt to buy success with a record-breaking payroll failed in 2015. Those rumors became louder in the run-up to this season.
Tsai was born in Taiwan, raised in Canada, and educated in the United States, completing studies at Yale.