A few oil tycoons from different parts of the globe have taken an interest in purchasing the New Jersey Nets, according to Yahoo! Sports. The Nets are scheduled to move from Jersey to Brooklyn at some point in the next few years.
For those unfamiliar, current owner Bruce Ratner has struggled to get an arena built in Brooklyn. There has been a heavy backlash against Ratner in Brooklyn. After years of fighting, Ratner finally got approval to build his arena, only to see the credit crisis crimp his plans. While this report seems to amount to little less than Ratner listening to people talk, it is conceivable that he might want to unload the project and leave behind a multi-year headache.
We’d be curious to see how Brooklynites would treat the news of a sale. Would they be pleased to lose Ratner, or angry that he dragged the team into Brooklyn, disrupted the downtown area and then cashed out?
Yahoo: 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.
There are no ongoing negotiations, but the fact that Ratner was willing to listen speaks to the trouble he’s had getting the Brooklyn arena built, as well as the financial beating that he has taken since purchasing the Nets in 2004. Sources say he’s losing as much as $30 million a year on the team.
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