Thursday, July 10, 2014
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Thorn: Harris wants to 'continue to grow the team'

Sixers president Rod Thorn has multiple conversations with the prospective owners in advance of the sale.

Thorn: Harris wants to 'continue to grow the team'

Ed Snider and Comcast-Spectacor had owned the Sixers since 1996. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
Ed Snider and Comcast-Spectacor had owned the Sixers since 1996. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

Sixers president Rod Thorn has multiple conversations with the prospective owners in advance of the sale.

Thorn had said it would be business as usual in advance of the draft, although things could potentially change with the new owners set to take over.

"This is my fourth time I’ve been involved in a sale of a team, all of them so far have been different," Thorn said. "Getting a new group and as owners everybody had different ideas how they want to set things up and run things. Until that transpires, you just don’t know until it actually happens.

"In my conversations with Mr. Harris, he seemed to be interested in continuing to grow the team and wanted the team to keep doing well."

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An NBA spokesman said there was no timetable for when the sale would be approved. The league will throughouly look at the prospective owners. Typically, though, the timetable has been about 2 months.

EARLIER

The sale of the 76ers is complete.

Comcast-Spectacor announced that a group led by New York billionaire Joshua Harris has purchased the team.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although the figure is reportedly around $280 million.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to be affiliated with this storied franchise,” Harris said in a statement. “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.”

According to a news 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. The sale does not impact the ownership of the Flyers, who will remain owned by Comcast-Spectacor and Ed Snider.

Snider will retain a 10 percent interest in the Sixers, but will not have management responsibilities.

A spokesman said Snider will not comment unitl the deal is approved by the NBA Board of Governors. The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to NBA approval and customary closing conditions.

“While today we have reached an agreement to sell the team, the deal still must have the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors,” spokesman Ike Richman said. “We will refrain from making any comments until the sale is approved.”

The new ownership also includes David Blitzer, a senior managing director of The Blackstone Group.

“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,” Blitzer, also a Penn grad, said in a news release.

Other members of the investor group include Art Wrubel and Jason Levien.

Levien is a former NBA player agent and a front office executive with the Sacramento Kings.

Wrubel is a new name to the mix, but he is also a Wharton graduate. He is a portfolio manager at Manhattan-based Wesley Capital.

Harris, Blitzer and the other investors are making personal investments; Apollo, of which Harris is a co-founder, and Blackstone are not involved in the transaction.

The Sixers were valued at $330 million, 17th in the NBA, by Forbes earlier this year.

About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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