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October 28, 2008

Bruce Ratner explored Nets sale

NY Daily News
by Frank Isola and Mitch Lawrence

Here's a new twist on the "Nets for Sale" story — Bruce Ratner would sell a controlling interest in the team, but they would remain the centerpiece of his Atlantic Yards dream.

New Jersey Nets principal owner Bruce Ratner met with a group of investors within the past year about possibly selling control of the basketball operations, the Daily News has learned.

One of the investors, who did not want to be identified, said that Ratner met with investors because the Nets were "hemorrhaging dollars." The deal would not have included the Atlantic Yards project, a $3.5 billion sports arena, residential and business complex in downtown Brooklyn.

The project has been delayed by lawsuits and a weak economy, although Ratner remains committed to building the Nets a new arena.

"He was looking for equity," the investor said of the deal that is no longer on the table. "But now is not the time to sell a sports team, as the Cubs found out. Now, people are holding onto their cash."

In the Nets' case, due to the economy, banks are not lending money for the kind of project Ratner has planned.

The Nets have been losing from $20 million to $25 million annually for several seasons, according to a league source, who projects similar losses this season.


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Bruce Ratner might be selling a controlling share of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. Can anyone loan me $600 million or so?

Posted by eric at October 28, 2008 11:13 AM