Joseph Tsai is closing in on an agreement to purchase the controlling interest in the Brooklyn Nets from majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the week, would value the team at $2.35 billion — making it the largest purchase price of an American professional sports team, surpassing the $2.2 billion paid by David Tepper to buy the Carolina Panthers and by Tilman Fertitta to buy the Houston Rockets.
The New York Post first reported the deal.
Tsai, the co-founder of Alibaba, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, bought a 49% stake in the Nets from Prokhorov in 2018 for $1 billion, with the option to buy the remainder of the team in the future. That sale has already been approved by the NBA Board of Governors.
The sale of the additional 51% to Tsai would also have to be approved by the Board of Governors.
A separate deal is expected to be completed to allow Tsai to purchase the team’s home — Barclays Center in Brooklyn — though that would be for a number beyond the price paid for the Nets.
Prokhorov bought the Nets from real estate developer Bruce Ratner in 2010, allowing the team to complete its move into Brooklyn, and Barclays Center, in 2012.
The team spent big early in Prokhorov’s tenure, racking up a record luxury tax bill in 2013-14, before retrenching in recent seasons after the failure of the trade with the Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in 2013. This summer, however, the team made a huge splash in free agency, signing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan.