Michael Jordan's Partial Sale Of Hornets Expected To Close Quickly
Michael Jordan has agreed to sell a large piece of the Hornets to two N.Y.-based investors, with the process "already underway and the sale expected to close quickly," according to a source cited in a front-page piece by Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. A source said that the deal "does not involve" Jordan "giving up majority ownership" of the team. Sources said that Jordan "controls about" 97% of Hornets equity. Jordan is "bringing in" Melvin Capital Founder & Chief Information Officer Gabe Plotkin and D1 Capital Founder Daniel Sundheim. Both prospective owners "must be approved by the NBA." A source said that Jordan "plans to remain the Hornets’ primary owner 'for a long time.'" The percentages Plotkin and Sundheim are buying "have not been revealed, nor has the price they are paying." In February, Forbes "estimated the Hornets were worth" about $1.3B. A source said that Jordan is "attracted to adding investors with deep resources who might offer new ideas regarding technology advances." Jordan has "some minority investors who own small shares of the team that all pre-date his buying control." Neither Plotkin nor Sundheim has "previous ownership experience with major-league teams" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/15). A Hornets exec said that he would be "surprised if this deal doesn’t at least provide the new investors a right of first refusal to buy control, should Jordan ever choose to sell" the team in its entirety (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/16).
OTHER INVESTORS: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg notes the Hornets' most recent media guide "listed 15 minority partners, including Wells Fargo." Meanwhile, Charlotte-based car dealer and entrepreneur Felix Sabates said that he is "unsure whether he will maintain his interest in the Hornets." Sabates, 75, said he wants to “retire” from many of his investments. Last year, he "sold most of his remaining interest in NASCAR team Chip Ganassi Racing." Sabates added that he "sent a letter last week to the Hornets asking for some business details that will help him decide whether to sell his stake" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/16).