Milwaukee Bucks owner and former Senator Herb Kohl announced the sale of his NBA franchise to a pair of New York investors,
Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for $550 million. Both Lasry and Edens are committed to keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee, which has been a key to any sale of the team by Kohl.
Both Kohl and the new ownership group have each committed $100 million toward a new, multipurpose arena. Wesley Edens figured that total would get them about halfway towards the purchase of a new facility.
Kohl originally purchased the Bucks back in 1985 for $18 million and has owned the team for the last 29 years.
Marc Lasry is the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Avenue Capital Group. Wesley Edens is the co-founder of the Fortress Investment Group LLC, based in New York.
The sale must meet the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors. That group is expected to meet Thursday and Friday but it’s not known if the sale of the Bucks will be on the agenda.
Asked today why Kohl gave up total ownership of the team, he said, “I wasn’t going to live forever. I approached a time in life when I had to think about approaching the idea of succession and then it was brought to a head the need for a new building and the fact that this is a project over several years. It doesn’t get done in a short time. It came to me and it was very clear that the owners of the team over the next period of years should have a central role in the project. Not me, but them.”
As for the remainder of the funding to build a new arena, Kohl is optimistic that the pledged dollars today will allow the project to gain momentum. Asked if the state of Wisconsin could be expected to play a role, Kohl said Governor Walker couldn’t be happier with today’s development. He said there will be time for that discussion to take place and it didn’t have to be now.