The Milwaukee Bucks will be sold to Avenue Capital Management’s Marc Lasry and Fortress Investment Group LLC cofounder Wesley Edens for $550 million, the National Basketball Association team said.
Current owner Herb Kohl, a former U.S. senator, agreed to donate $100 million for a new arena in Milwaukee. Lasry and Edens, who pledged to keep the team in the city, agreed to add another $100 million.
“My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee,” Kohl said in a statement. “This announcement reinforces that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks.”
Forbes valued the team at $405 million, lowest in the 30- team league. Last year the Bucks had an operating profit of $11 million on $109 million of revenue, the magazine said.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center, where the team is averaging a league-low 13,474 fans per game this year, opened in 1988. The Bucks’ six-year lease extension expires in September 2017. The team, at 15-66, has the worst record in the NBA.
“He wants to get into basketball, and this is the team that’s available,” said Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based Sportscorp Ltd., which advises pro sports teams and leagues on financial matters. “This is the lowest value NBA club. That’s it. Nothing lower.”
Milwaukee has made the playoffs twice in the past eight seasons and hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001.
“That team is not selling well or performing well,” Ganis said. “Upgrading the team is the first order of business, then marketing.”