Alibaba chief linked to Barclays Center takeover

Joe Tsai, co-founder of Chinese internet company Alibaba and minority owner of NBA basketball franchise the Brooklyn Nets, is in talks to purchase the team’s Barclays Center arena and the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, according to the New York Post.

The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the matter, said the negotiations would clear the path for Tsai to become the majority owner of the Nets. Tsai acquired a 49 per cent stake in the team in April 2018 from Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in a deal that valued the team at $2.35bn (£1.8bn/€2.09bn). That deal granted Tsai an option to buy the remainder of the Nets before 2021-22 and become the controlling owner of the team.

Barclays Center, the Nets’ home since 2012, is owned by Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment and also hosts games played by NHL ice hockey franchise the New York Islanders. The Islanders are currently splitting home games between Nassau Coliseum and Barclays Center ahead of a proposed move to a new arena in 2021.

The Islanders have been granted permission to build a new 18,000-seat arena on the site of the Belmont Park horse-racing facility on Long Island. The team has played at Barclays Center since 2015 and before that spent more than 30 years at the Nassau Coliseum.

A spokesman for Barclays Center and the Nets denied the Post’s report and declined to give any further details.

Image: Tandonva