NBA Approves Nets Transfer to Prokhorov at $1.9 Billion

  • Prokhorov now has 80 percent of team and 45 percent of arena
  • Bruce Ratner's Forest City owns remainder of team, arena

Mikhail Prokhorov and Brooklyn Nets player Joe Johnson chats during training camp.

Photographer: Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images

The National Basketball Association has approved ownership transfer of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center to Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The agreement values the team and arena at $1.9 billion. The person, who requested anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced, declined to break down the valuation between the Nets and their venue.

Prokhorov, through his Onexim Sports & Entertainment, currently owns 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of the arena, which opened in 2012 and also houses hockey’s New York Islanders. Forest City Enterprises owns the remaining 20 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

Nets spokeswoman Mandy Gutmann declined immediate comment. Forest City spokesman Jeff Linton didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

With the notable exception of Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers last year, NBA teams have more recently sold for well under $1 billion. Earlier this year, the Atlanta Hawks were sold for $730 million to a group led by Ares Management LP’s billionaire co-founder Tony Ressler. As part of the deal, Ressler also assumed about $120 million in arena debt. 

The Milwaukee Bucks were sold for $550 million in 2014 to a group that includes Avenue Capital Management’s Marc Lasry and Fortress Investment Group LLC co-founder Wesley Edens.

The $2 billion paid by Ballmer did not include the Staples Center, which the Clippers share with the L.A. Lakers. It is owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc.

The Nets are 7-17 this season, fourth in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.

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