Alibaba's Tsai nears deal to buy rest of NBA's Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

In what stands to be the biggest purchase in sports history until now, Taiwanese-Canadian billionaire Joseph Tsai reportedly means to buy the Brooklyn Nets for Dollars 2.35 billion, The New York Post reported.

Tsai's deal for the Nets would be the largest price paid for a sports team in history, surpassing David Tepper's $2.2 billion purchase of the NFL's Panthers in 2018 and Tilman Fertitta's $2.2 billion deal for the NBA's Rockets in 2017.

Tsai, who co-founded the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, bought 49 percent of the team for $1 billion previous year and gained the right to buy the remaining stake before the 2021-22 season for around $1.35 billion, according to the New York Post. Initially, ownership of the National Basketball Association team was split between himself and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

Prokhorov bought an 80 percent share of the Nets in 2010 and immediately moved the team from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

Nets representatives declined to comment. The NBA prefers that its owners also control their home arenas.

Bloomberg recently estimated his net worth at $10.2 billion.

The full purchase of the Nets will cost Tsai $2.35 million.

"It is unknown if the Nets are one of the teams that Anthony and his representatives have talked to about a potential signing", the report states.

Sales staff received almost 1,000 inbound calls on that day alone, and within a week, the Nets had already exceeded its ticket revenue for all of the 2018-19 season.

Tsai is also a member of NBA China, which conducts league business in China. The Taiwan native is known to speak positively of the Chinese government, sources said.