May 16 (Bloomberg) -- National Basketball Association owners unanimously approved the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to Avenue Capital Management’s Marc Lasry and Fortress Investment Group LLC cofounder Wesley Edens for $550 million.
“The Bucks and their fans will benefit greatly from their vast business experience, energy and strong commitment to Milwaukee,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an e-mailed statement last night.
The Bucks had an operating profit of $11 million on $109 million of revenue last year, according to Forbes. The team averaged a league-low 13,487 fans per game this year at the BMO Harris Bradley Center and ended the regular season with a 15-67 record, the worst in the NBA. Milwaukee has made the playoffs twice in the past eight seasons and hasn’t won a postseason series since 2001.
Herb Kohl, a former U.S. senator who bought the Bucks in 1985, has agreed to donate $100 million for a new arena in Milwaukee. Lasry and Edens, who pledged to keep the team in the city, agreed to add another $100 million.
“I would like to thank Senator Kohl again for his unprecedented and historic financial gift toward the construction of a new Milwaukee arena,” Silver said.
The Bucks’ six-year lease extension at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which opened in 1988, expires in September 2017.
Avenue Capital Group was founded in 1995 by Lasry and his sister, Sonia Gardner. It manages $13.6 billion investing in distressed and undervalued companies.
Edens heads the private-equity and publicly traded alternative investment businesses at Fortress, where he is co-chairman of the board. He co-founded Fortress in 1998 with Randal A. Nardone and Robert I. Kauffmann.
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