Sale of Sixers almost a done deal

Posted: July 13, 2011

Comcast-Spectacor is in the final stages of negotiating terms of its sale of the 76ers to a group of investors led by New York billionaire Joshua Harris.

Although multiple sources have confirmed that the deal is "not yet done," those same sources confirmed that the sale is in its final stages and that an announcement is expected any time, likely within the next two business days and even as early as Wednesday.

Once the two parties have agreed on terms, the sale will go to the NBA's board of governors for approval. Despite the current NBA lockout - there is a moratorium on player movement, and communication between teams and players is barred - the sale of a franchise can still be processed.

Sources have put the terms of the deal at $280 million for a 90 percent share of the Sixers. Comcast-Spectacor would retain 10 percent, but current chairman Ed Snider would rescind operational control. The deal does not include the NHL's Flyers, also owned by Comcast-Spectacor, or the Wells Fargo Center, which houses both professional franchises.

Under new ownership, the Sixers are expected to become a tenant at the Wells Fargo Center.

This year, Forbes valued the Sixers at $330 million, 17th in the NBA. Comcast-Spectacor bought the Sixers in 1996 for $130 million.

News of the potential sale was first reported more than a month ago, but the magnitude of the transaction and its intrinsic hurdles have stretched out the finalization of the terms.

Harris' investment group also includes David Blitzer of the Blackstone Group, an asset-management firm, and former NBA agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien. It's unclear what role, if any, Levien would play within the Sixers' front office, which is run by team president Rod Thorn.

The new ownership group has met with Thorn on multiple occasions.

Harris, 46, is cofounder of Apollo Global Management, which specializes in leveraged buyouts. Harris is worth an estimated $1.5 billion.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at kfagan@phillynews.com. Follow her on Twitter @DeepSixer3 and read her blog, Deep Sixer, on Philly.com.

 

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