Apollo Co-Founder Joshua Harris Is Unanimously Approved to Buy NBA’s 76ers

National Basketball Association owners unanimously approved the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers to a group led by Apollo Global Management LLC co-founder Joshua Harris and David Blitzer, who moved to London from New York in 2002 to create the European office of Blackstone Group LP. (BX)

“Josh and David bring vast business experience that will greatly benefit the team as it continues to grow both on and off the court,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement.

The ownership group also includes actor Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

The league didn’t disclose terms of the sale from Comcast- Spectacor, a unit of Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) Harris paid about $280 million, a person familiar with the transaction said on July 7.

The sale doesn’t include the Wells Fargo Center or the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers, which Comcast- Spectacor will retain.

Comcast is the biggest U.S. cable-television operator and bought a controlling interest in NBC Universal from General Electric Co. (GE) in January.

The NBA and its players are scheduled to meet today in an effort to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that would end a lockout that began on July 1.

Stern last week canceled the first two weeks of the regular season when no agreement was reached. It’s the second time in league history that regular-season games were lost due to labor strife.

The 1998-99 lockout resulted in a 50-game season, down from the usual 82. Stern has said that, if no agreement is reached this week, games probably would be canceled through Christmas.

Money Issue

Stern has said the league’s 30 teams lost a collective $300 million last season. At issue is how to share about $4.3 billion in annual revenue.

The 76ers finished 41-41 last season, seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Harris will be the team’s controlling owner, the NBA said.

He co-founded Apollo Management in 1990, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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