Herb Kohl announces sale of Milwaukee Bucks franchise
MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks Owner Senator Herb Kohl has announced the sale of his NBA franchise to two billionaire hedge fund managers for $550 million.
New owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry bought Milwaukee's NBA franchise for $145 million more than the team's reported value. According to Forbes, the franchise was valued at $405 million.
During a news conference at the B.M.O. Harris Bradley Center, Edens and Lasry committed $100 million to building a new arena for their franchise. Senator Kohl is also donating $100 million to build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Several counties in Southeast Wisconsin say the announcement of new owners and $200 million from the private sector will change their stance against allocating public dollars to a new arena. Racine County Executive James Ladwig says today's announcement will not sway his opposition to taxing Racine County residents to raise funds for a new NBA arena. Waukesha County officials later came out reaffirming their stance against taxing residents for a new NBA arena.
During the news conference, Senator Herb Kohl made sure to note that the more private sector dollars that can be raised for a new arena the better. He believes the okay will be given to put public funds towards a new arena when the team is ready to present a proposal to the taxpayers.
52-year-old Wesley Edens is from Helena, Montana and attended college at Oregon State. Edens mother grew up in the State of Wisconsin. Edens is the co-founder of Fortress Investment Group LLC, a firm that manages about $55 billion. Watch Edens discuss stock valuations during a 2010 keynote interview.
53-year-old Marc Lasry is also a billionaire hedge fund manager. He was born in Morocco, and immigrated to the United States as a child. He graduated from Clarke University and Forbes ranked him the 24th highest paid earning hedge fund manager.
According to the New York Times, Lasry has close ties to the Clinton family and even employed Chelsea Clinton. The publication also reported he as close ties to President Obama. One of Lasry's five children recently worked for the Obama White House.
The sale of the Milwaukee Bucks has yet to be approved by the National Basketball League.