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October 28, 2008

Sources: Foreign owners eye Nets

Yahoo! Sports
by Adrian Wojnarowski

Could Atlantic Yards become "Caspian Yards" or "Persian Gulf Yards?" One thing we do know — those repeated denials of Nets' sale talks are starting to ring hollow.

With tens of millions of dollars in annual operating losses and a $3.5 billion Brooklyn arena and real estate deal in peril, New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner has listened to overtures of two prospective foreign ownership groups, two league executives with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports.

The most serious advance, sources say, were made in recent months by Russian oligarchs, tycoons invested in the country’s oil industry. The Russians’ working plan would’ve been for full ownership of the Nets and control of the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, one source said.

Also, a Middle Eastern group, based in Dubai, expressed interest to the NBA and Nets ownership.
...

So far, Ratner has resisted selling the franchise as he tries to revive the floundering arena project in Brooklyn. Most league officials have grown increasingly pessimistic that the economic climate will allow Ratner to obtain the hundreds of millions of dollars left to finance the construction. [NBA commissioner David] Stern declared optimism about the Nets getting the arena financed and moving to Brooklyn, but many others believe the situation is dire and ultimately unlikely to happen.

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Posted by eric at October 28, 2008 11:32 PM