Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sixers sale officially approved

The sale of the 76ers to a group headed by billionaire Joshua Harris has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Forbes previously reported that Comcast-Spectacor would sell the team for between $300-330 million, with the price likely to be closer to $300 million.

Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, agreed to purchase the team back in July. The deal does not include the Wells Fargo Center or the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, which are still owned by Comcast-Spectacor.

"This is one of the hardest business decisions I've ever had to make," said Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider in a statement. "The Sixers are family, and it is very difficult to say goodbye to an organization of great people with whom we have worked so closely over the last 15 years."

Comcast-Spectacor, led by Snider, originally bought the Sixers from Harold Katz in 1996.

"Over the last 15 years, a number of different individuals or entities have inquired about purchasing the Sixers, and to be honest, I was not looking to sell the team," Snider added. "But in discussions with Josh and his partners, it became clear that this was an offer that made sense for the franchise and for the future of Comcast-Spectacor."

Harris, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious Wharton School of Business, is joined in the new ownership group by David Blitzer, a senior managing director of The Blackstone Group; and Jason Levien, a former NBA player agent and Sacramento Kings executive.

"On behalf of my partners, I genuinely want to thank Ed Snider and Comcast- Spectacor for choosing us to steward the Philadelphia 76ers, a storied NBA franchise," said Harris. "We are excited to be writing a new chapter in Sixers lore."

The 76ers will remain a tenant of the Wells Fargo Center and the team will have a long-term cable broadcast agreement with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

"Knowing that the 76ers will continue to play at Wells Fargo Center and that our game television broadcasts will continue on Comcast SportsNet, our new ownership group looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Comcast-Spectacor for many years to come," Harris added.

Last season, the Sixers finished 41-41 under head coach Doug Collins and lost to Miami in five games during the opening round of the playoffs.

The 76ers have lost their last four playoff series and have just one postseason series victory since Allen Iverson led the team to the NBA Finals in 2001.

No comments: