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Friday, July 12, 2024

New Koch Stake Values Nets, Liberty Parent at $6 Billion

  • The minority stake values the franchises at nearly double what Joe Tsai paid in 2019.
  • Julia Koch will not be an alternate governor for either team.
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Koch family, known for its conservative political donations, is heading to the NBA. 

Julia Koch, the widow of David Koch—who owned a majority stake in Koch Industries—bought a minority stake in BSE Global, the parent company of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty, it announced. 

While the terms of the deal were not publicly disclosed, Sportico reported that the stake is for 15% of the company, which values it at $6 billion, making Koch’s share roughly $900 million. The valuation is one of the largest in the history of professional sports sales in the U.S. BSE chairman and team governor Joe Tsai bought the Nets, Liberty, and Barclays Center for roughly $3.3 billion in 2019 from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Koch’s investment nearly doubles the valuation Tsai paid. 

Sportico recently valued the Nets’ franchise at just under $4 billion, while the Liberty are valued at $130 million. Koch’s purchase blew past both valuations. According to Billboard, Barclays Center was the highest-grossing arena in the world in April. The deal comes right before the NBA is set to announce a new media-rights deal, which will reportedly be worth as much as $76 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal

“We are pleased to welcome Julia Koch and her family to BSE Global,” said Tsai in a release. “Mrs. Koch’s commitment to New York institutions is an invaluable addition to our franchise. The Nets have a special bond with the Brooklyn and broader New York communities, and we are looking forward to working with Mrs. Koch and her family as we increase investment in our franchise.”

Interest between the two sides in a minority stake was originally reported in February, and the deal comes with the Kochs getting the right of first offer for any future control. Despite the purchase, BSE leadership contingent will stay in place, and Koch will not serve as an alternate governor for either team. 

“Our family is honored to join the Tsai family in shaping, advancing, and contributing to the shared vision for the future of the Nets, the Liberty, and the broader Brooklyn community,” said Koch. 

Since buying both teams, the Tsais have had relative success with both franchises but struggled to capitalize on the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving era, which got as far as only the second round of the playoffs. This past season, the Liberty lost in the WNBA Finals to the Las Vegas Aces and have started the season 12–3, tied for the second-best record in the league. 

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