New Ownership Press Conference
August 3, 2023 – Hornets Sports & Entertainment (HSE) announced today that the sale of the majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets from Michael Jordan to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall has been finalized. The sale, which has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors, immediately gives Plotkin and Schnall the controlling interest in the franchise.
“The opportunity to be the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets in my home state of North Carolina for the last 13 years has been a tremendous honor,” said Jordan. “I’m proud of all that the organization accomplished: the exciting on-court moments, the return of the Hornets name, Charlotte hosting the 2019 NBA All-Star Game and HSE becoming a true pillar of this community. Through the years, the unwavering commitment, passion and loyalty of our Hornets fans has been incredible. As I transition into a minority ownership role, I’m thrilled to be able to pass the reins to two successful, innovative and strategic leaders in Gabe and Rick. I know the Hornets organization is in great hands moving forward. I’m excited about the future of the team and will continue to support the organization and the community in my new role in the years ahead.”
Plotkin and Schnall said the following:
“We want to thank Michael for this opportunity, as well as his support throughout this process. During his ownership, he brought stability to the Hornets franchise, achieved many business milestones, reconnected and reinvested in the Charlotte community and has the organization positioned for greater success. We look forward to building upon this success in the years to come.
“As lifelong fans of the game of basketball and the NBA, we’re well aware of the importance of the sport in the Carolinas and we’re thrilled to take a controlling stake in the Hornets. We’re excited about the organization’s future. Charlotte is a great city and a thriving sports town. The Hornets fan base is one of the most passionate in all of sports. It is a privilege to own an NBA team. We understand the Hornets are a community asset and it is our responsibility to be good stewards for this franchise representing our community and entire fan base.
“Our vision is to take the Hornets to the next level, both on and off the court. We will look to build a highly competitive basketball team, develop innovative business practices, give back to our community and connect with our fans. We plan to further invest in the team, the facilities and the fan experience, with the goal of delivering a winner to our fans throughout the Carolinas. We are confident that our successful business backgrounds and our previous experience as NBA minority owners will be beneficial as we shape the future of the franchise as a best-in-class organization.”
Plotkin and Schnall will serve as Co-Chairmen of HSE and will rotate the team’s governorship every five years, beginning with Schnall.
Schnall, who will serve as Co-Chairman & Governor, had been a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks and an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2015. While with Atlanta, Schnall was involved in various aspects of the Hawks team building process as well as the renovations to State Farm Arena. Schnall is co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, where he has worked for 27 years.
Plotkin, who will serve as Co-Chairman & Alternate Governor, originally acquired a minority stake in the Hornets in 2019. He has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2019. Plotkin is the founder and chief investment officer of Tallwoods Capital LLC.
In addition to Plotkin and Schnall, the new ownership group also includes Chris Shumway, Dan Sundheim, Ian Loring, Andrew Schwartzberg, Dyal HomeCourt Partners, North Carolina natives recording artist J. Cole and country music singer-songwriter Eric Church, and several local Charlotte investors, including Amy Levine Dawson and Damian Mills, among others.
Jordan will retain a minority ownership share of the team and will also serve as alternate governor.
Along with the Hornets, HSE ownership includes the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League) and Hornets Venom GT (NBA 2K League), as well as managing and operating Spectrum Center, each of which is included as part of the sale.
Jordan was represented in the transaction by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The buyer group was represented by Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Guggenheim Partners.