Russian Billionaire to Buy Brooklyn Jewel Barclays Center and Its Nets Basketball Team

Barclays Center. Photo by Mary Hautman

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Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is sick of sharing his stake in Barclays Center — and its losing basketball team.

Prokhorov will take exclusive ownership of the Prospect Heights arena and home team the Brooklyn Nets, two tipsters have told Crain’s.

The 50-year-old entrepreneur, who made his fortune in mining, already owned 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of the arena through his Onexium Sports & Entertainment company. Now, following a deal with Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises Inc., currently Barclays’ majority stakeholder, Prokohorov will become the sole stakeholder for both team and stadium.

Barclays has been shopping around the reportedly money-losing arena for at least a year, as Brownstoner has reported. Back in 2014, investment banking sources estimated the arena is worth no more than $750,000,000. It cost a reported $845,000,000 to build.

The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, and are currently under review by the National Basketball Association. Barclays Center recently became home to the formerly Long Island–based hockey team the New York Islanders, but they were not included in the reported deal.

The Nets made the Eastern Conference’s second-worst record at 5-13 this season, in addition to losing $144 million last season, according to ESPN.

Prokohorov reportedly paid $220,000,000 for his share of the Nets prior to this newly reported deal.

Prokhorov to Become Sole Owner of Barclays Center Brooklyn

Barclays Center. Photo by Mary Hautman

Why would Prokhorov want to own the money-losing center? Being sole proprietor of the Nets and arena will enable Prokhorov to more easily sell shares or partnerships in either asset, according to Crain’s.

Prokhorov’s future ownership of the Nets and Barclays marks a new milestone in the controversial stadium’s history. Part of Ratner’s Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park mega-project, controversial for its use of eminent domain, among other issues, the stadium was more than 10 years in the making.

But once it finally debuted in 2012, it was received with great acclaim. Its existence has raised the profile of Brooklyn and provided an alternative to Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.

Yet, the sports and performance destination has been losing money since opening.

Prokhorov to Become Sole Owner of Barclays Center Brooklyn

Barclays Center. Photo by Mary Hautman

It is unclear what plans the eccentric billionaire has for his soon-to-be-acquired assets, but if he does business anything like he works out, he’s sure to be thinking big.

“I sleep for six hours and exercise for at least two hours a day” Prokhorov told GQ in October. “The rest of the time is working and socializing. I try to keep a good balance.”

[Source: Crain’s | Photos: Wikimedia | Wikimedia]

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