On Tuesday, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov terminated an agreement he had with Evercore Partners, an investment bank, ESPN reported.
Prokhorov turned to these investors in January, probably to get a feel for what the market would offer him for the Brooklyn Nets.
To remind you, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bought the L.A. Clippers from the scandal plagued Donald Sterling (although it was Sterling’s wife Rochelle who did the selling) for $2 billion last year.
So Prokhorov, who owns 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of their stadium, the Barclays Center, figured he could get at least as much for his team.
According to the Sporting News, Prokhorov invested $200 million in buying the Nets, and another $200 million in the construction of the stadium.
The Nets are currently on a 5-game losing streak, with a 25-38 win-loss record. The Clippers have won 2 in a row, and are in second place in their division, with a 42-23 record.
The Clippers best the Nets in value as well. Forbes rates them at $1.6 billion — a tad shy of what Ballmer paid for them. They are considered the 5th most valuable NBA team.
The Nets are right behind the Clippers, in 6th place, valued at $1.5 billion. If these are the figures Prokhorov was looking at, it made sense for him to keep the team for at least another year. ESPN noted that when Prokhorov took over the Nets, he promised an NBA championship in five years. Seeing as this is the 5th year, and the team is far from dominating—the owner might not wish to look as if he’s a quitter.
Incidentally, the Nets’ rivals across the East River, the NY Knicks, have an abysmal record this year, 12-51, with a 5-game losing streak. And yet, they are the second most valuable team in the NBA, according to Forbes — $2.5 billion, just $100 million short of the Lakers who lead the list.
Mikhail Prokhorov’s maternal grandmother, Anna Belkina, was a prominent Jewish microbiologist who remained in Moscow during World War II to make vaccines while her daughter Tamara, Mikhail’s mother, was moved east to safety.
Prokhorov made his money during the heady days of privatization of former state-controlled industries following the collapse of the USSR. In 1995 he was part of a group that purchased Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia’s largest nickel and palladium mining and smelting companies for a fraction of its value. After his exit, in 2007, Prokhorov’s share was estimated at $7.5 billion.