Joe Tsai’s Acquisition of a Minority Interest in the Brooklyn Nets


Hogan Lovells advised Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA, Inc. and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov on 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. The transaction provides Mr. Tsai an option to acquire further ownership interests in 2021 and, if exercised, become the controlling owner of the team.

The sale transaction does not include Barclays Center, which will continue to be wholly owned by Mr. Prokhorov. The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the transaction.

“This transaction showcases the increasing global interest in U.S. sports franchises and the growing popularity of professional basketball around the world,” says Hogan Lovells partner Matthew Eisler. “We expect to see continued globalization of the U.S. sports and entertainment market based on this transaction, as well as other recent precedents.”

The Hogan Lovells team was led by Denver-based Corporate partners Matthew Eisler (Picture), Craig Umbaugh and Helen Atkeson and senior associates Russell Hedman and Chris Nenno, with support from a number of New York and Washington DC attorneys, including partners Mark Weinstein, David Dunn and Scott Loughlin, as well as associates Stephen Grodski, Eric Einhorn and Joe Vladeck.

The Hogan Lovells team worked closely with former New York-based Hogan Lovells partner, and current President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment, Maureen Hanlon, and Jeff Gewirtz, the Brooklyn Nets’ Executive Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Legal & Compliance Officer.

Allen & Company LLC acted as the financial advisor to Onexim Sports and Entertainment. Sullivan & Cromwell were counsel for the buyers.

Involved fees earner: Matthew Eisler – Hogan Lovells; Craig Umbaugh – Hogan Lovells; Helen Atkeson – Hogan Lovells; Russell Benjamin Hedman – Hogan Lovells; Christopher Nenno – Hogan Lovells; Stephen Grodski – Hogan Lovells; Mark Weinstein – Hogan Lovells; David Dunn – Hogan Lovells; Scott Loughlin – Hogan Lovells; Joseph Vladeck – Hogan Lovells;

Law Firms: Hogan Lovells;

Clients: Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA, Inc.; Mikhail Prokhorov;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti