Mikhail Prokhorov mulls buyout of Bruce Ratner's stake in Nets, Barclays

ByMike Mazzeo ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Seeking to settle the massive debt owed to him by minority owner Bruce Ratner, Brooklyn Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov is contemplating buying up all of Ratner's shares and taking over 100 percent ownership of both the team and the $1 billion Barclays Center.

Prokhorov currently owns 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of the arena. Ratner owns the other 20 percent of the team and 55 percent of the arena.

"We can confirm that Onexim Sports and Entertainment is looking at various ways to restructure debt owed to the company in connection with its U.S. assets," Prokhorov's spokesperson said in a statement via email. "One possibility is the conversion of such debt into equity and consolidation of shares, but there are other scenarios also under consideration by Onexim and its partners, and no decision has yet been made."

On Wednesday, Forbes said the team was worth $1.5 billion -- tied with the Baltimore Ravens for 24th highest in the world.

Bleacher Report earlier reported Prokhorov's possible intent to gain 100 percent control of the team and the arena.

Prokhorov had explored selling, but he ended his agreement with the investment bank he hired to explore a sale in March.

In April, Prokhorov said he was committed to the team, but added that he was open to selling a minority stake of up to 49 percent.

The Nets are not expected to pay luxury taxes for the first time in four seasons, and the team hopes to become profitable as a result, sources confirmed.

Prokhorov spent approximately $400 million in player salaries and luxury taxes over the past three seasons, but the team won only one playoff series during that span.

The team lost $144 million in basketball-related business in 2013-14 after dishing out an NBA-record $197 million in combined payroll and luxury taxes.