Lasry, Edens To Buy Basketball Team

Apr 17 2014 | 10:49am ET

Two alternative investments powerhouses have become the latest industry players to become sporting moguls.

Avenue Capital Group founder Marc Lasry and Fortress Investment Group co-founder Wesley Edens yesterday agreed to buy the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million. “We have an insane desire to succeed,” New York-based Lasry said.

The Bucks haven’t been doing much succeeding of late: The team had the NBA’s worst record this year and has not won a playoff series since 2001.

Edens and Lasry have pledged to keep the team in Milwaukee and will put $100 million towards replacing the Bucks’ 26-year-old BMO Harris Bradley Center. Outgoing Bucks owner Herb Kohl will also chip in $100 million for a new building.

“There are several years before we have to start digging, so we’ll have time to maximize non-public-sector investment,” Kohl said.

Kohl, who represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate for 24 years before retiring last year, bought the Bucks in 1985 to keep the team in Milwaukee. The 79-year-old said the time was right for a sale, noting yesterday, “I wasn’t going to live forever.”

Edens and Lasry must be approved by the NBA’s other owners to consummate the deal. Three of their kind are already among them: Platinum Equity’s Tom Gores owns the Detroit Pistons, and Apollo Global Management co-founder Joshua Harris and Blackstone Group executive David Blitzer own the Philadelphia 76ers.

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