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Report Confirms Arctos Added Portland Timbers, Thorns to Portfolio

  • Owner Merritt Paulson sold a 15% stake in the Thorns and Timbers last year.
  • The deal was at an enterprise value of $600 million.
Portland-Timbers
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Arctos Sports Partners has been an owner of MLS’ Portland Timbers and the NWSL’s Thorns since last year, going essentially unreported — until this past Wednesday. 

The private equity firm and other investors who weren’t identified acquired a 15% stake at an enterprise value of $600 million.

A club spokesperson confirmed the deal to OregonLive.

PTFC, the Timbers’ and Thorns’ combined business, is now worth $685 million — eighth in MLS and an 8% increase from last year.

The stake was the first sold by owner Merritt Paulson.

  • Paulson bought the Portland Beavers and the Portland Timbers in 2007. 
  • In 2011, he paid $35 million to make the Timbers an MLS expansion club. 
  • Two years later, the Thorns joined the NWSL.

Institutional investors can own up to 20% in a single MLS franchise, but a team cannot have more than 30% owned by funds. Arctos joined the ownership group of MLS’ Real Salt Lake in January.

Serious Decibels

While Arctos’ investment in the Portland soccer clubs was quiet, their presence in the industry is not.

In August, the firm announced its investment in the Utah Jazz through a deal with Smith Entertainment Group. 

It also recently purchased stakes in Philadelphia 76ers owner Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the Golden State Warriors, and the Sacramento Kings, and has stakes in more than 20 professional sports groups and franchises.

Arctos was reportedly the first investment firm to offer private equity funding across MLB, MLS, the NBA, and the NHL.

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