Slam Dunk! Alibaba Exec Seals Brooklyn Nets Deal

April 13, 2018

Joseph Tsai, co-founder and executive vice chairman of ecommerce giant Alibaba, has bought a 49 percent minority stake in NBA franchise the Brooklyn Nets from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

Prokhorov will continue as the controlling owner through Onexim Sports and Entertainment, and the sale will not affect the franchise’s day-to-day management or basketball operations, an NBA statement said.

The terms of deal have not been disclosed, but the agreement gives Tsai the option to buy additional shares in 2021, which would make him the controlling owner. Reuters reported in October that Tsai’s deal to buy the 49 percent stake valued the franchise at about U.S.$2.3 billion.

The Nets’ home stadium, the Barclays Center, which is not part of the deal, will continue to be owned by Onexim Sports and Entertainment.

“As a lifelong sports fan, I am very proud to join the Nets ownership and the NBA family. I lived in New York in the early days of my career, and the city holds a special place in my heart,” Tsai said.

“I share the vision and culture that Mikhail Prokhorov, chief executive Brett Yormark, general manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson have put in place, and I look forward to being a part of this great franchise.”