New York ( CBS Marketwatch): Joseph Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba BABA, -1.20% , is close to signing a deal to buy the 51% of the Brooklyn Nets he does not already own from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, sources told The Post.
The deal is expected to be announced this week, sources said.
The $2.35 billion transaction would mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise — beating hedge fund owner David Tepper’s $2.2 billion acquisition last year of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and Tilman Fertitta’s $2.2 billion purchase of the NBA’s Houston Rockets in 2017.
Tsai already owns 49% of the team, which he bought for $1 billion last year. At that time, the 55-year-old businessman locked in the right to buy the remaining 51% of the team before the 2021-2022 basketball season for an additional $1.35 billion.
If Tsai signs off on the deal, he’ll be exercising his right to buy the remaining 51% of the team from Prokhorov two seasons early.
The sale comes at a time when the Nets are still high off their recent off-season buying spree, which landed them contracts with NBA All-Star free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Adding Durant and Irving to the roster is expected to help boost attendance for the Nets, which will also boost profits for Tsai.