News

Wall Street fund managers buy Milwaukee Bucks

Wall Street fund managers buy Milwaukee Bucks

NEW OWNERS: Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight (11) celebrates withy guard Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and center Zaza Pachulia (27) after shooting the game-winning three point basket in the final seconds. Photo: Reuters

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

(Reuters) – Hedge fund managers Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens are buying the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million from businessman and former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, becoming the latest Wall Street financiers to own a sports club.

“I believe they are the right people and the right fit at the right time,” Kohl said at a news conference in Milwaukee announcing the purchase as Lasry and Edens grinned nearby.

The Bucks, valued by Forbes at $405 million and ranked as the last team in the 30-member league, have been on the block since late last year, Kohl said. He said Lasry and Edens, who are lifelong basketball fans, won the bid in part because of their commitment to keep the team in Wisconsin.

Lasry runs Avenue Capital together with his sister, Sonia Gardner, and Edens co-founded Fortress Investment Group.

The two men, whose firms are headquartered in New York, emerged as potential buyers only recently and beat out a group led by Seattle-based former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.

Kohl, a Wisconsin native, bought the team 29 years ago, and said he was committed to keeping it in his home state.

Lasry said that for him and Edens buying the team is a “dream come true” and underscored the pair’s intention to build a new arena and help the team win a championship. “We have a strong desire, some would say an insane desire, to win,” Lasry said at the news conference.

The National Basketball Association still needs to finalize the deal.

Lasry and Edens now join a growing list of Wall Street billionaires who have turned their love of sports into team ownerships.

Steven A. Cohen, whose SAC Capital Advisors changed its name this month to Point72 Advisors after pleading guilty to insider trading, owns a minority stake in the New York Mets baseball team. Jeffrey Vinik, who once ran Fidelity’s Magellan Fund before launching his own hedge fund, owns the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and John W. Henry, a former commodities trader, owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

The Bucks, which last year had an operating profit of $11 million on $109 million of revenue, according to Forbes, hired Allen & Company to find buyers for the team.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Jimmy Fallon set for Super Bowl Sunday show in Phoenix

Fresh
File Photo: Jimmy Fallon at the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party held at Kensington Gardens - Arrivals. June, 2013.  Credit: WENN.com

The host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" is set to wage a lip sync contest with actors Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart during a special post-game episode at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix.

in Entertainment, Local Sports

Lenny Kravitz will be rooting for Seahawks on Sunday

Lenny Kravitz en concert. SPE. Panoramic

Pitbull is picking the New England Patriots, while Lenny Kravitz likes the Seahawks

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

janetjustin

A look back at some of the biggest headlines to ever come out of Hollywood.

in Entertainment

It’s a dog-eat-dog world at the 2015 Puppy Bowl

17-overlay3

It's Ruff versus Tuff in the 11th annual football game of puppy power!

in Entertainment

Nickelodeon latest to offer streaming service

nickelodeon

Good news for "SpongeBob SquarePants" fans.