Billionaire Prokhorov Seeks Buyer for 49% of Brooklyn Nets

  • Prokhorov said he hasn’t found a buyer for NBA club stake yet
  • Tycoon has also been seeking to offload some Russian assets

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov wants to sell 49 percent of the Brooklyn Nets, the professional basketball team in New York that he fully owns.

The search for a buyer is still underway, Prokhorov said in comments reported by RIA Novosti and confirmed by his spokeswoman.

Mikhail Prokhorov

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Prokhorov said in November that he’d hired Allen & Co. to find a local minority investor for the Nets “to further strengthen the team’s New York presence in order to expand upon our business and community relationships.” He didn’t say at that time how much of the club he planned to sell.

The former Russian presidential candidate’s Onexim Sports & Entertainment paid $223 million in 2010 for an 80 percent stake in the team and a 45 percent share of its home arena. Prokhorov consolidated ownership of the team and its Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn in 2015, buying the remaining shares from Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises Inc. in a deal that valued the team at $875 million and the arena at $825 million, including debt. The Nets ended the 2016-2017 season in last place in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, winning 20 games and losing 62.

The billionaire has also been looking to offload some of his Russian assets in the past year. He sold about 91 percent of his Opin property development company in December, and raised $240 million by selling shares in United Co. Rusal, the biggest aluminum maker outside China, in February. Amid reports of Kremlin discontent with its investigative journalism, Prokhorov may also dispose of his ownership in the RBC media company, Vedomosti newspaper reported this month.

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