Nice pass: PE firm cashes in on Harlem Globetrotters

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The Harlem Globetrotters are known for embarrassing their hapless opponent, the Washington Generals, with their trick passes. Now the basketball team itself is being deftly handed off.

Los Angeles-based private equity firm Shamrock Capital Advisors announced this past week that it had sold parent company Harlem Globetrotters International to Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. Herschend owns and runs 26 entertainment sites, including Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and Stone Mountain Park in Georgia.

Shamrock, a more-than-$700 million investment firm focused on media, entertainment and communications, bought 80 percent of the Globetrotters in 2005 for $70 million from former player Mannie Jackson, who retained 20 percent ownership, according to The Arizona Republic.

The exact price Herschend paid wasn't disclosed, but a person familiar with the situation said it was between $70 million and $100 million and was profitable for Shamrock. Herschend now owns 100 percent of the business.

"Over the past few years, the Globetrotters have set records across virtually every metric, including revenue, attendance and profitability," Shamrock partner Michael LaSalle told "After eight years it was time to find the right partner to continue the momentum. We felt Herschend was the right steward."

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