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Joseph Tsai close to deal to take full ownership of Nets, source says

Liberty owner Joe Tsai looks on before a

Liberty owner Joe Tsai looks on before a WNBA exhibition game against the Chinese National Team in Brooklyn on May 9. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

Joseph Tsai is close to a deal to finalize his expected purchase of Mikhail Prokhorov’s controlling stake of the Brooklyn Nets two years ahead of previously planned, a person familiar with the situation said.

Tsai bought a 49 percent stake of the NBA franchise in April 2018. As a part of the deal, Tsai had the option to buy the remaining 51 percent of the Nets in 2021. Prokhorov and Tsai agreed to move up the timetable, the person said.

The deal values the Nets at $2.35 billion, which is the highest sale price of a professional sports team. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers and NBA’s Houston Rockets have both been sold in recent years in deals that valued those franchises separately at $2.2 billion.

Another person familiar with the Tsai-Prokhorov deal said the proposed transaction does not include the Prokhorov's leases to Barclays Center in Brooklyn and NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. Those arenas will remain under the control of Prokhorov's Onexim Sports and Entertainment.

Representatives for Tsai and BSE Global, which oversees the Nets' operations, declined to comment.

Tsai also earlier this year headed an investment group that purchased the WNBA’s New York Liberty from Madison Square Garden.

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