Alibaba's Tsai said to buy Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Arena for US$3.5 Billion

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai is paying about US$3.5 billion for the Brooklyn Nets and their arena, the Barclays Center, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The agreement to buy the basketball team and stadium from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov may be announced as soon as Friday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal isn’t yet public.

The Nets made the playoffs last season for the first time in four years, and adding Durant and Irving could drive up sales of tickets, suites, merchandise and corporate sponsorships.

As part of the shake-up at BSE, Chief Executive Officer Brett Yormark will announce his resignation Friday, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier on Thursday.

In 2015, he consolidated ownership of the Nets and the arena in a deal with real estate developer Bruce Ratner’s Forest City Enterprises Inc. that valued the assets at around US$1.7 billion.

The Atletico Madrid stake was subsequently sold, and Chinese billionaire Tony Xia, chairman of the Recon Group logistics firm, has given up control of Aston Villa.

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