Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks To Be Sold For $550 Million


Pending league approval, Herb Kohl will sell the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million. Kohl also pledged $100 million toward the construction of a new arena in the city of Milwaukee.

After nearly 30 years as team owner, Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he’s entered into an agreement to sell the team to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens, both accomplished hedge-fund billionaires.

The deal, pending league approval, was announced during a press conference at the BMO Harris Bradley center Wednesday afternoon.

Kohl will reportedly receive a whopping $550 million for the team – a hefty profit considering he paid just $18 million to acquire the franchise in 1985. By comparison, the Sacramento Kings were sold at a total valuation of over $534 million in May 2013.

Since announcing in December that he was looking to expand or transfer ownership, Kohl has remained committed to keeping the Bucks in his hometown. A large part of the reason Lasry and Edens were chosen among several prospective candidates is their shared goal of remaining in Milwaukee.

“My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee,” said Kohl. “This announcement reinforces that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks. Wes and Marc agree, and they share my commitment to the long-term success of this franchise in Milwaukee.”

As part of his commitment, Kohl announced he would pledge $100 million toward the construction of a new arena. Last year, then-NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver deemed the BMO Harris Bradley Center “unfit” for the league, and the Bucks were given a hard deadline of 2017 to have a new arena deal in place.

In addition to Kohl’s pledge, Lasry and Edens announced they, too, would pledge at least $100 million toward a new facility in Milwaukee.

The two jointly stated (per Bucks.com):

“We would like to thank Senator Kohl and his team for their support and cooperation throughout the purchase process. The Senator has provided the Bucks with nearly 30 years of dedicated stewardship, and we are very excited to join Bucks fans, the city of Milwaukee and the NBA to build the long-term success of this franchise. Having attended various sporting events in Milwaukee and Green Bay over the years, it is easy to see why the greater-Milwaukee area is such a storied sports atmosphere. 

“We are lifelong basketball fans who are committed to the success of the Bucks and the identity of the team as a part of the city of Milwaukee. It is our vision for this franchise to be admired both locally and nationally for its success on the court, the quality of its organization and the loyalty of its fan base. Having each built competitive teams in the business world, we will apply that same intensity and determination as owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. We are as passionate and energized as Bucks fans are about bringing home an NBA championship to Milwaukee.”

With $200 million of the estimated $400-500 million necessary for a modern facility already on the table, Kohl, the new ownership partners and mayor Tom Barrett, who briefly addressed the assembled crowd, each expressed optimism with regards to the Bucks’ future in Milwaukee.

“Today’s announcement signals the start of a new, exciting era for the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Kohl. “Now, with a long-term commitment from the new owners and major components of the funding in place for a new arena, we need to come together as a community to develop plans for a new sports and entertainment facility that will host more than 200 events a year, including Bucks games. I am confident we will do this.”

The sale comes on the heels of what will be the Bucks’ poorest season in franchise history. With the 2013-14 campaign wrapping up Wednesday night, Milwaukee currently sits at 15-66, three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the NBA’s worst record. Spirits haven’t exactly been high at the BMO Harris Bradley Center this season, but with a guaranteed top-four pick on the way, coupled with the promising development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the new regime has plenty of momentum on which to capitalize.

Milwaukee closes out the season hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

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