Billionaire Joseph Tsai has finalized a deal that makes him the sole owner of the Nets and Barclays Center, the team announced Friday.
The deal must be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors and is expected to be finalized by the end of September, the team said.
Tsai, 55, already owned 49 percent of the team, which he bought for $1 billion last year. According to a New York Post report this week, he is buying the remaining 51 percent from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov for $1.35 billion. In total, Tsai will have paid $2.35 billion for the NBA team.
“I’ve had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago,” Tsai said in a release. “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. 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.”
Tsai’s deal for the Nets would be the largest price paid for a sports team in history, surpassing David Tepper’s $2.2 billion purchase of the NFL’s Panthers in 2018 and Tilman Fertitta’s $2.2 billion deal for the NBA’s Rockets in 2017.
Last season, the Nets finished with a 42–40 record but have renewed hype because of huge offseason acquisitions of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant signed a four-year, $164 million deal with the team, while Irving signed a four-year, $141 million deal.
With those high-profile free agent signings, Nets attendance is expected to jump, along with overall revenue.
A native of Taiwan, Tsai is worth an estimated $9.9 billion after he co-founded Alibaba, the Chinese equivalent to Amazon. He also owns the San Diego Seals, a box lacrosse franchise in the National Lacrosse League.