Joseph Tsai buys Barclays Center, becomes sole owner of Brooklyn Nets

Key Points
  • Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai is buying the remaining 51% of the Brooklyn Nets he doesn't already own as well as the Barclays Center.
  • The deal would value the team at $2.35 billion, the highest price ever paid for an NBA team.
  • The Brooklyn Nets are projecting revenue for the upcoming season to rise as much as 15%.
Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has agreed to sell full ownership of the Barclays Center and his 51% controlling interest in the Nets to Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai.

"It has been an honor and a joy to open Barclays Center, bring the Nets to Brooklyn, and watch them grow strong roots in the community while cultivating global appeal," Prokhorov said in a press release.

"The team is in a better place today than ever before and I know that Joe will build on that success, while continuing to deliver the guest experience at Barclays Center that our fans, employees, and colleagues in the industry enjoy."

The purchase makes Tsai, who previously owned 49% of the basketball team, the sole owner of the Nets.

Rachael Lewis, a spokesperson for BSE Global, which manages the Barclays Center and the Nets, declined to comment on the price of the sale reportedly valued at a record $2.35 billion.

The current team sales record came last year after hedge fund manager David Tepper acquired the NFL's Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion. Tilman Fertitta, owner of restaurant chain Landry's, also paid $2.2 billion to purchase the NBA's Houston Rockets in 2017.

Joseph "Joe" Tsai, co-vice chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Justin Chin | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tsai bought a $1 billion stake in the team in 2017. At that time, the 55-year-old businessman locked in the right to buy the remaining 51% of the team within four years for an additional $1.35 billion, Bloomberg News reported at the time.

"I've had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago — he supported the organization with all his resources, and he refused to tank," said Tsai. "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."

Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global, will step down.

The Nets recently completed an offseason buying blitz that included NBA All-Star free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The team is already projecting a revenue increase for the upcoming season of 10% to 15%.

The sale of the team still requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. If approved Tsai could assume the role of NBA governor for the Nets and chairman of the board of directors of the Barclays Center as early as September.