EMAILED ON August 15, 2019 BY Conor Grant

Billionaire co-founder of Alibaba buying the Brooklyn Nets in historic deal

Joseph Tsai, a Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire who co-founded Alibaba, announced plans to buy (the remainder of) the Brooklyn Nets for $2.35B.

If the deal goes through, it will be the largest amount paid for a sports franchise in history. 

Tsai is a big sportsball guy…

And he already owned the New York Liberty women’s pro basketball team, the San Diego Seals men’s pro lacrosse team, and an investment stake in the newly created Premiere Lacrosse League (Joe T himself played lacrosse at Yale). 

So it’s not a huge surprise that he decided to purchase the 51% of the Nets that he didn’t already own from the Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. 

Even for a billionaire, it’s a pricey purchase, but it could pay off

When Tsai bought a 49% stake in the Nets for $1B last year, he also locked in the right to buy the remainder of the team for an additional $1.35B before the 2021–22 season.

Now, although it’s only partway through the buying period, Tsai is pulling the trigger on the $2.35B deal 2 years early.

Part of Tsai’s confidence may rest with the Nets themselves: After signing superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets’ revenue is supposed to increase 10-15% this upcoming season.