A-Rod and former Walmart executive buy Minnesota Timberwolves

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez and former Walmart e-commerce chief Marc Lore signed a letter of intent to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves from the National Basketball Association, a spokesperson for the National Basketball Association said on Saturday. franchise.

Under the terms of the deal, Rodriguez and Lore will initially take a minority stake in the Timberwolves and its sister franchise of the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Lynx, the spokesperson said.

The deal values ​​the Timberwolves and Lynx at $ 1.5 billion and buyers could take majority control in about two and a half years, according to a person familiar with the matter.

This sale is the latest in a series of high profile deals involving major US professional sports clubs, as valuations soared millions to billions of dollars in recent years, far exceeding traditional investment benchmarks like the S&P 500.

In the past year alone, baseball New York Mets sold to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen for $ 2.45 billion, and the Utah Jazz NBA sold Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for over $ 1.6 billion.

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Rodriguez, best known for his 12 seasons as the New York Yankee, was among starred bidders for the Mets in a glitzy auction process last summer, ultimately losing to Cohen. Lore, a serial entrepreneur who left Walmart this year, founded Jet.com which he sold to the retail company in 2016 for $ 3.3 billion.

In a joint statement, Rodriguez and Lore said they looked forward to working with current Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and were “excited about the prospect of knowing the Timberwolves organization, the talented team and their incredible fans ”.

Taylor bought the Timberwolves in 1994 for around $ 90 million, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He ad he was exploring a potential sale of the franchise last fall, with hopes of keeping the team in Minnesota.

The Timberwolves were almost moved to New Orleans before their sale to Taylor. The team has never won a league championship but made nine playoff appearances, the last in 2018.

The Minnesota Lynx have won four league championships, the last in 2017.

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