Michael Jordan Makes Historic Move: Selling Majority Stake in Charlotte Hornets, Paving the Way for New Era of Ownership

Former NBA superstar and beloved Charlotte Hornets team owner, Michael Jordan, takes center stage as he addresses a highly anticipated press conference ahead of the thrilling NBA basketball match between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on January 24, 2020. The winds of change are blowing over the Charlotte Hornets franchise, as the team confirmed this morning that its majority owner, Michael Jordan, has reached a groundbreaking agreement to sell the NBA team to a distinguished group of buyers. This esteemed group includes notable minority partners, Gabe Plotkin and Dan Sundheim.

According to a report from the Charlotte Business Journal, Plotkin, together with Rick Schnall, a minority partner of the Atlanta Hawks, spearheads the buyers' group. While the specific terms of the deal have not been disclosed by Hornets Sports & Entertainment, ESPN sources estimate the sale price to be around a staggering $3 billion. Forbes' valuation of the Hornets last fall stood at $1.7 billion, representing an impressive 8% increase from the previous year. However, some industry insiders believe this figure to be a conservative estimate, especially considering that the Phoenix Suns were sold in December for a record-breaking $4 billion.

Erik Spanberg, a respected journalist at CBJ, had previously reported on Jordan's contemplation of a sale, marking the end of his remarkable 13-year tenure as the Hornets' chairman. Throughout his reign, Jordan, alongside team President Fred Whitfield, recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in CBJ's Most Admired CEO Awards program, has consistently guided the organization to profitability despite on-court challenges. In recognition of his transformative leadership, Jordan was named CBJ's Business Person of the Year in 2014.

While Michael Jordan will retain a minority partnership in the team, having initially acquired a controlling interest in 2010 for a reported $175 million, his influence will continue to shape the Hornets both on and off the court. In addition to his involvement with the Hornets, Jordan will maintain his local business ties as a co-owner of the 23XI Racing team alongside NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.

Joining the buyers' group is Gabe Plotkin, the founder of Tallwoods Capital, who became a Hornets investor in 2019, alongside D1 Capital Partners founder Dan Sundheim. Adding to the excitement, the team's statement reveals the inclusion of renowned music artist J. Cole and Eric Church, both North Carolina natives, as well as Charlotte-based investors Amy Levine Dawson and Damian Mills. Meanwhile, Rick Schnall, co-president of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, and a minority investor with the NBA Hawks since 2015, is in the process of selling his stake in the Hawks, as stated by the Hornets.

This significant transaction, subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, encompasses not only the ownership of the Charlotte Hornets but also the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA G League and the Hornets Venom GT of the NBA 2K League. Furthermore, it involves the transfer of management and operations of the esteemed Spectrum Center, owned by the city of Charlotte, which is set to undergo an impressive $215 million upgrade.

Stay informed as this momentous sale makes its way through the approval process, marking the end of an era for the Charlotte Hornets and paving the way for an exciting new chapter under the stewardship of a prominent buyer group. Witness the transformation unfold and anticipate the future of this esteemed NBA franchise.

Disclaimer: This article was originally posted at https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2023/06/16/cbj-buzz-michael-jordan-charlotte-hornets-nba-sale.html 

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