Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov is getting close to buying the remaining shares of the franchise and Barclays Center that he doesn't already own, reports the New York Post. Prokhorov is currently the proprietor of 45 percent of the arena and 80 percent of the team.
There were rumors not long ago that the Russian billionaire was exploring the possibility of putting the team on the market after the Clippers set a record when they were sold for $2 billion. Mere months later, he's increasing his investment and looking to become the sole owner of both the Nets and the arena they play in.
Of course, there's a financial benefit for going through with the transaction. The Post reports that Prokhorov's group is in an advantageous position to acquire those assets from Bruce Ratner's Forest City Enterprises. Ratner's company tried and failed to find takers for its share of the venture at an auction and owes Prokhorov its share of the losses the Nets have incurred in the past few years. The debt amounts to $31 million, which Prokhorov would include in the price. For about $70 million, he could be the sole proprietor of the franchise and the arena, per the report.
As Nets Daily notes, minority owners -- including Jason Kidd -- would be getting much less than they had hoped for and the deal would end Ratner's 12-year involvement with the team, the first seven as principal owner and the last five as minority owner of the Nets.
Prokhorov bought the Nets in 2010 for $200 million and the franchise is estimated to be worth $700 million now. The team has struggled during his time at the helm despite outspending roughly every other squad. Management has taken a more frugal approach this year, getting under the luxury tax.
With money coming in form a new TV contact, sources tell Nets Daily that the Nets might turn a profit. That means that Prokhorov could be buying the rest of the team just as it stops losing money on a year-to-year basis and will explore selling it again when it becomes more profitable. If the deal goes through as reported, it would be "another grand slam for Mikhail," according to Nets Daily's source.
The transaction shouldn't have a big impact on the on court product, at least in the short term. The Nets will fight for a low seed next season and will have a hard time replenishing their roster with talent after dealing away draft picks. It could, however, convince Prokhorov to commit to the team and bring some much-needed stability to a franchise looking to start over after the failures of the past.