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Milwaukee Bucks add third hedge fund owner

Jamie Dinan
Jacob Kepler | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The big "bucks" keep flowing from Manhattan to Milwaukee.

Billionaire investor Jamie Dinan, founder of York Capital Management, has joined fellow hedge fund managers Marc Lasry of Avenue Capital and Wes Edens of Fortress Investment Group as a "substantial" owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.

Dinan became an owner in July, but it was first disclosed in a news release Thursday night announcing a separate group of new partial stakeholders. They include "community leaders and philanthropists" who the Bucks hope will represent a "bold new model of private, community and potentially public partnership."

"Marc, Wes and I are thrilled to have the Partners for Community Impact group join us on our quest to make the Bucks organization the best in basketball," Dinan said in a statement. "Since I joined as an owner in July, I have already seen the huge strides we have taken on making the Bucks an integral part of the Milwaukee community."

York manages $25 billion today, making it one of the top dozen or so hedge fund firms in the Americas. Dinan is worth an estimated $2.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Now majority owners, Edens and Lasry bought the Bucks for $550 million in May, then a record amount paid for an NBA team (former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers in August).

Lasry is co-founder of Avenue, the New York City-based alternative investment manager that ran $14.1 billion as of Aug. 31. He's worth an estimated $1.82 billion, according to Forbes. Edens is principal, co-founder and co-chairman of the board of directors of Fortress, which managed $63.8 billion as of June 30 and is based in New York City. Lasry and Edens didn't respond to requests for comment. Dinan declined to comment beyond the press release statement.

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The Bucks are trying to rebuild. The team was the worst in the NBA last year, winning just .183 percent of its games. In July, Lasry and Edens helped lure Jason Kidd away from the Brooklyn Nets to be their head coach. The team also snagged Duke phenom forward Jabari Parker with the second pick in the NBA draft in June.

Lasry has made it clear that he is invested for the long term and wants his ownership group to benefit Milwaukee.

"We have a moral responsibility to the community," Lasry said at a conference in September. "We clearly have an obligation."

"Nobody's looking at this thinking, 'We need to get out in five years,' " he added at the same event. "When you invest, it's for 20 years, it's over a very long time."

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There are plenty of other current or former hedge fund managers who own stakes in professional sports teams.

They include John Henry of John W. Henry & Co., Seth Klarman of Baupost Group and Herb Wagner of Finepoint Capital (Red Sox); Phil Falcone of Harbinger Capital Partners (Minnesota Wild); Steve Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors (New York Mets); David Tepper of Appaloosa Management and Rob Citrone of Discovery Capital Management (Pittsburgh Steelers); and Paul Leff of Perry Capital (Oakland Raiders).