Comcast-Spectacor has finalized a deal to sell 76ers to a group of investors led by New York billionaire Joshua Harris. Both sides have agreed to terms and the deal is now in the hands of the NBA's Board of Governors, pending approval.
Sources have put the value of the deal at approximately $280 million, possibly slightly more, for *100 percent of the team. Comcast-Spectacor and owner Ed Snider does not retain operational control, but owns the Wells Fargo Center and the cable rights through 2029. The deal does not include the Wells Fargo Center, which currently houses the Sixers and the NHL's Flyers.
The Sixers will become a long-term tenant of the Wells Fargo Center, which should ease worries that Harris has any intention of moving the team. According to Comcast-Spectacor's press release: "The team will remain a long-term tenant of the Wells Fargo Center and will have a long-term cable broadcast agreement for its games with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia."
Harris, 46, is worth approximately $1.5 billion. His investor group also includes David Blitzer of Blackstone and former NBA agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien. It’s unclear what role, if any, Levien will play within the Sixers’ front office, which is currently run by team president Rod Thorn.
The new ownership group has already met with Thorn on multiple occasions over the last month.
This year, Forbes valued the Sixers at $330 million, the NBA’s 17th most expensive franchise. Comcast-Spectacor bought the Sixers in 1996 for $130 million.
Harris is co-founder of Apollo Global Management, which specializes in leveraged buyout transactions.
Harris issued the following statement: “We are honored to have the opportunity to be affiliated with this storied franchise. As a basketball fan who attended college in Philadelphia, and with family roots here, I have always felt a strong connection to this City and the 76ers. We look forward to helping the 76ers organization build on this past season’s accomplishments in the years ahead. The ownership group also looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Comcast-Spectacor.”
Blitzer said the following: "We are excited to become associated with this iconic team and to have the chance to serve the great City of Philadelphia and its loyal basketball fans.”
The press release named other investors in Harris' group, including Art Wrubel and Levien. It also specified that Harris, Blitzer and the other investors were making personal investments and this move was not associated with either Apollo or Blackstone.
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