Chinese investment group Fosun as well as a Qatari government interest are candidates to acquire the Brooklyn Nets, according to a report from the New York Post Monday, but regulation surrounding NBA franchise sales as well as prohibitive costs could delay the purchasing process.
According to the Post, the two suitors have joined several potential American buyers, including former Citigroup chairman and Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons and music magnate David Geffen.
Brooklyn's current owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, owns a 45 percent share of the Nets' home arena, the Barclays Center, in addition to an 80 percent stake in the team itself. He reportedly put the team up for sale back in January.
A potential sale of the Nets has been hindered in part because the NBA has yet to clarify if Prokhorov can sell his share of the team separately from his share of the arena. The NBA requires a team's owner to sell the same stake in a team, or an arena, that that owner acquired in their original purchase, according to the Post.
The Nets have recently been valued at $2 billion. The Barclays Center has been valued at $1.2 billion. Prokhorov has been reluctant to sell both for fear that he combined worth of the team and the venue would be prohibitive to potential buyers.
A source told the Post the league has yet to decide whether to waive the sale requirement for the Nets' owner.
Forest City Enterprises, the owner of the remaining 20 percent of the Nets and 55 percent of the Barclays Center, has discussed selling the arena to Anschutz Entertainment Group. However, those talks have been paused as the sale of the team proceeds, according to the Post.
The Post's source also suggested that the league was delaying the Nets' sale in order allow the sale of the Atlanta Hawks – currently receiving bids of approximately $900 million – to conclude. Fosun is also reportedly in the running to purchase the team in Atlanta.
The Nets are currently 24-33 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. Since returning to Brooklyn from New Jersey prior to the 2012 season, the Nets are a combined 117-137.
- Christopher Woody