Alibaba co-founder buys Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center

Ross Houston
August 18, 2019

Joseph Tsai, the co-founder of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, will be the sole owner of the Nets, according to the NBA's announcement.

Last year, the Canadian entrepreneur already bought 49% of the Brooklyn Nets' shares for $1 billion.

The deal represents a two-year acceleration on an option Tsai to gain the 51 percent share of the Nets by 2021.

This summer, the Nets reeled two of the biggest names in free agency: forward Kevin Durant and guard Kyrie Irving.

The deal, according to multiple reports, will cost Tsai $2.35 billion, the highest price ever paid for a USA sports team. In 2018, the record had been set after the Carolina Panthers was acquired for $2.28 billion by David Tepper, the hedge fund manager. The acquisition of the Barclays Center is not part of the deal to acquire the Nets, and Tsai will need to pay a separate amount for that particular transaction.


The Barclays Center in Brooklyn in NY on Saturday, August 9, 2014. The Internet holding manages such marketplaces as Aliexpress, Tmall.com, Taobao.com. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however published reports say the deal was worth $3.5 billion.

Prokhorov owned a stake in Rusal, the world's largest aluminum producer, with fellow tycoons Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg.

"It has been an honor and a joy to open Barclays Center, bring the Nets to Brooklyn, and watch them grow strong roots in the community while cultivating global appeal", said Prokhorov.

"The team is in a better place today than ever before and I know that Joe will build on that success", Prokhorov said.

"When I was hired almost 15 years ago, my goal was to realize the vision for Barclays Center, move the Nets to Brooklyn, and build a world-class sports and entertainment company", Yormark said in the statement. "He hired a front office and coaching staff focused on player development, he supported the organization with all his resources, and he refused to tank", said Tsai.


The transaction, which requires the approval of the National Basketball Association board of governors, is expected to go through by the end of September. "I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail's vision, which put the Nets in a great position to compete, and for which I am incredibly grateful".

The deal still needs approval of the NBA Board of Governors.

Yormark has been in the role since 2005, when he came to the Nets from NASCAR, and helped usher the franchise to Brooklyn from its prior homes in East Rutherford and Newark, New Jersey.

Brett Yormark, chief executive officer of Nets parent company BSE Global, will announce Friday morning he is resigning, Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported.


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