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Tsai poised to take full control of Nets in record-setting deal

Brooklyn Nets co-owner Joseph Tsai is poised to set a new US pro sports franchise sale record by buying the 51 percent of the National Basketball Association team he does not already own at a valuation of $2.35 billion.

The deal, likely to be announced this week according to the New York Post, will involve Tsai taking over the team in full from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Tsia is the co-founder of e-commerce goliath Alibaba.

The $2.35 billion valuation for the club would beat out the $2.2 billion that David Tepper paid last year for the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers, and the $2.2 billion that Tilman Fertitta paid for fellow NBA team the Houston Rockets in 2017. 

Tsai bought his existing 49 percent interest in the Nets last year for $1 billion, and locked in a right to acquire the remaining equity for $1.35 billion before the 2021-22 NBA season. The emerging deal represents Tsai accelerating that prior timetable by two years.

The Nets have already been a heightened story within NBA circles with their signings this summer of free agent stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury that will likely have him out of action for this entire upcoming season. But news of the signings has still sparked sizable increases in ticket and merchandise sales for the team.