BROOKLYN – April 12, 2018 – Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has completed the sale of a 49% interest in the Brooklyn Nets to Joe Tsai. Mr. Tsai is executive vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, a global internet company with businesses in e-commerce, cloud computing and digital entertainment.
Mr. Prokhorov, through Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA, Inc., will continue to be the controlling owner and the NBA Governor of the team. There will be no changes in the day-to-day management of the team’s business or basketball operations.
Mr. Prokhorov commented, “As we looked for a partner for the team, the number one priority was to find someone who shares our global vision and passion for the future development of the Brooklyn Nets. Those who have followed our story know that, having learned some hard lessons, we are focused on building our culture, and this must be reflected in all that we do – in our players, our staff and our front office. It was important to us that we choose a partner who shares our commitment to the highest standards as we create a truly wonderful NBA franchise. I welcome Joe to the organization and I am looking forward to working with him for years to come.”
“As a lifelong sports fan, I am very proud to join the Nets ownership and the NBA family,” said Mr. Tsai. “I lived in New York in the early days of my career and the City holds a special place in my heart. I share the vision and culture that Mikhail Prokhorov, CEO Brett Yormark, General Manager Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson have put in place, and I look forward to being part of this great franchise.”
“Basketball is a global sport and the NBA is one of the most recognized brands in the world. I am excited about the NBA’s international growth prospects, and hope to play a part in bringing the NBA and the special character of the Brooklyn Nets to fans around the world,” Tsai continued.
A Canadian citizen, Mr. Tsai attended the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey where he played lacrosse and football. He also played lacrosse at the Division I level as an undergraduate at Yale College. After earning his juris doctor degree from Yale Law School, Mr. Tsai worked in New York for many years, and met his wife, Clara, while living there. Mr. Tsai co-founded China-based Alibaba Group in 1999, and currently oversees the company’s strategic acquisitions and investments as executive vice chairman. He is a member of the company’s board of directors and sits on the partnership committee of the Alibaba Partnership, which is comprised of a group of senior executives responsible for the day-to-day management of Alibaba Group. Alibaba Group is not party to the transaction.
The transaction provides Mr. Tsai an option to acquire further shares in 2021 and, if exercised, become the controlling owner of the team. The announced share sale does not include Barclays Center, which will continue to be wholly owned by Onexim Sports and Entertainment. The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the transaction.
Since moving to Brooklyn in 2012, the Nets have achieved success and growth both on and off the court. The team reached the NBA Playoffs for three consecutive years in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2016, the franchise launched a G League team, the Long Island Nets, to support the development of young talent, and that same year, opened HSS Training Center, the team’s state-of-the-art practice site. The Nets brand has mirrored this growth by transforming from a traditional sports team to a popular lifestyle brand, revolutionizing its public appeal.