(Yicai Global) April 16 -- Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. vice-chairman and co-founder Joseph Tsai has completed a deal to take a 49-percent stake in National Basketball Association team, the Brooklyn Nets, marking the largest Chinese investment in the history of US basketball.
The Alibaba mogul has received the go-ahead from the basketball league’s board to complete the purchase of the stake from the Nets’ Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov, a statement on the NBA website said.
Prokhorov remains the controlling shareholder and NBA director of the team as president of US-based Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA Inc., and no changes are expected in terms of daily operations of the team.
The team is valued at USD2.35 billion, the New York Post reported, making the deal worth some USD1.15 billion. Tsai becomes the first Chinese owner of the Brooklyn Nets in its 51-year history through the transaction.
Prokhorov bought 80 percent of shares in the New York-based team and a 45-percent stake in its home, the Barclays Center from owner Bruce Ratner for only USD223 million in 2009. Two and a half years ago, he acquired the remaining shares in the team and venue for a further USD1.9 billion to become the sole owner.
The announced share sale does not include the Barclays Center which will continue to be wholly owned by Onexim Sports Entertainment.
Editor: William Clegg