NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) Joseph Tsai, billionaire co-founder of Alibaba, is reportedly in talks to buy Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and the new Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.
Tsai, who is worth an estimated $10 billion, is already a 49 percent owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team, which plays at Barclays, after buying the stake last year from Prokhorov for $1 billion. The deal gave Tsai the rights to buy the rest of the team before the 2021-22 season for an additional $1.35 billion.
Purchasing Barclays would make it easier for Tsai to buy the nets because the NBA prefers team owners to own the host building as well as the team, according to the New York Post, and a source told the paper that such a purchase would also allow Prokhorov to unload his 51 percent stake in the team ahead of schedule.
The NBA is reportedly anxious to have Tsai buy the arena and team so that it can expand its brand in Asia; Tsai is a member of NBA China even though he doesn’t own a team yet.
The Nets are currently in the cellar for attendance of any NBA’s 30 teams, with an average of 14,639. Barclays, which opened with a splash, is reportedly struggling, with Moody’s projecting last summer that the arena would break even for 2018. One of the drags is apparently its second tenant, hockey’s New York IslandYork which is also suffering from poor attendance.
The team recently moved half its games to the new Nassau Coliseum, which replaced the old building of the same name in 2017, which allows Barclays to bring in more concerts.
Barclays Center and the Nets have denied the New York Post report.
Alibaba Group is known for its web search engines and cloud computing services. Its 2014 IPO launch closing price of US$25 billion was the world’s highest in history. It recently committed to investing more than US$7.2 billion in entertainment over three years and has staked a claim in artist management, booking, and entertainment ticketing.