SBD/Issue 84/Franchises

Kushner Ups Bid For Nets, Reportedly Matching Ratner's Price

The latest bid for the Nets from the New Jersey-based partnership of Charles Kushner and U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) is "believed to have at least matched [Bruce Ratner's $300M] offer during negotiations with executives at Lehman Bros. and Goldman Sachs" yesterday, according to John Brennan of the Bergen RECORD. One Nets investor "predicted that the offer would leave Kushner and ... Ratner in a $300[M] `dead heat'" (Bergen RECORD, 1/21). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports Ratner and Kushner "raised their bids modestly," but it was "not known how far beyond $300[M] Ratner ventured, or how much more than his longstanding $267.5[M] bid Kushner went." Two officials said that Kushner's new offer "was two-tiered: for an all-cash purchase, ... he raised his bid by a small amount, and for one that would include a longer payout to the sellers, he raised the gross amount by a somewhat larger figure." Kushner "may be hoping that he has gone high enough to match a reduction in the actual value of Ratner's bid based on factors like projected losses during the years the Nets would still play at Continental Arena before the Brooklyn arena would be built" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/21). In Newark, Parks & Jordan cite sources as saying that Kushner is "waiting to find out the true value of the Ratner bid before raising his offer" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/21).

APPLE OF HIS EYE? In N.Y., Harvey Araton writes the Nets "have virtually disappeared from the metropolitan area sports consciousness. They have become an athletic afterthought, a business-transaction-in-waiting. Don't think that [NBA Commissioner David] Stern hasn't noticed, that he isn't relieved the wait on the sale of the Nets will soon be over and that the buyer is expected to be" Ratner, who wants to move the team to Brooklyn. Stern, on the Nets: "For us it's a New York metro-area team, and during the course of the negotiations we have adjusted to the notion that it might stay where it is, move to Newark, Brooklyn or Long Island." While Araton writes Stern "has always scoffed at the notion that the NBA needs contenders in New York to thrive nationally," Stern said, "It never hurts to have strong teams in the largest media market because many attitudes are shaped there" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/21).

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