Brooklyn Boro

It’s Official: Prokhorov buys out Ratner

Russian Billionaire Now Owns 100 Percent of Nets and Barclays Center

December 23, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov now owns 100 percent of the Brooklyn Nets and Downtown’s Barclays Center. AP photo
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There’s nothing quite like a unified title belt, or an undisputed national champion.

By officially reaching an agreement for his buyout of Downtown real estate magnate Bruce Ratner’s remaining shares of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, Mikhail Prokhorov became the sole owner of both entities, making him the boss of all bosses on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

“Today’s deal brings the ownership structure of the Brooklyn Nets and their state-of-the-art home in line with NBA guidelines, and comes at an opportune time for all involved,” noted Prokhorov, whose Onexim Sports and Entertainment group inked the deal with Ratner’s Nets Sports and Entertainment on Tuesday.

Prokhorov, who originally bought in for 80 percent of the team and 45 percent of the arena back in 2010, can now do as he wishes with the team, which is enduring a difficult fourth season here in Brooklyn, but remains one of the more valuable franchises in the NBA, recently valuated at nearly $2 billion.

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“We have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Forest City and Bruce Ratner and worked together to open one of the most successful arenas in the country and to bring professional sports back to Brooklyn,” Prokhorov added.

“We will continue to support arena management to provide a high level of service to our fans and the best sports and entertainment experience in the world. We also remain fully committed to community programs that were created as part of the arena. We believe a successful arena must be a destination, but also be part of the communities that surround it and more broadly the collection of neighborhoods that represent Brooklyn.”

It was Ratner who originally spearheaded the charge to bring the Nets here from New Jersey, dating back to 2003.

His Forest City Enterprises built Barclays Center, which has emerged as our ever-growing Downtown scene’s centerpiece, hosting the NBA’s Nets, the NHL’s Islanders, NCAA basketball, the circus, pro boxing and dozens upon dozens of notable concerts and events since opening in 2012.

“The development of Barclays Center enabled the return of major league professional sports and world-class entertainment to Brooklyn; and in just over three years of operation, it has become one of the top-grossing arenas in the country,” Ratner said. “As an anchor for the continued development of Pacific Park Brooklyn, Barclays Center stands as an iconic landmark for the borough.”

This deal had been in the wind for several months, but was doubtlessly sealed two weeks ago, when Prokhorov made a rare visit to Brooklyn to take in a couple of Nets games during an extended homestand.

Under the agreement, which was unanimously approved by the NBA’s board of governors earlier this month, Barclays Center will continue to work with the surrounding communities on quality of life issues.

It will also continue to implement the portions of the Community Benefits Agreement and other community programs applicable to Barclays Center that were established as part of the development.

Select Forest City Ratner staff will also continue to serve as liaisons for community and quality of life meetings, and will work with arena staff and Greenland Forest City Partners, the developer for the larger Pacific Park project, to coordinate construction activities.

“It’s a seamless transition due to the incredible partnership between Onexim and Forest City over the years,” said Brett Yormark, chief executive officer of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment.

“Exciting times are ahead for our fans, partners and employees as we continue to improve and grow all of our businesses,” he added.

The parties expect to complete the transaction either late this year or early in 2016.

Nothing But Net: Former Net Deron Williams, the face of the franchise upon its arrival here in Brooklyn, was unlikely to play Wednesday night when the Dallas Mavericks visited Barclays Center due to an injured hamstring. Williams, who inked a five-year, $98 million deal with the Nets in the summer of 2012, was bought out of the final two years of that pact last offseason and subsequently signed as a free agent with the Mavericks. In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Williams admitted that his three seasons in Brooklyn were quite difficult, as he endured several nagging injuries and never quite embraced the role of franchise player. “It took a lot out of me, man, those three years,” Williams told the website. “Some of the hardest [years] in my life. Made me question if I even wanted to play basketball when I was done with that contract. … It’s cool. There’s a lot of people, I guess, who aren’t built for New York. New York is not for everybody.”


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