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Michael Jordan Finalizing Sale of Charlotte Hornets

by Quincy Thomas
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The Charlotte Hornets announced Friday that owner Michael Jordan has reached an agreement to sell his majority stake to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. Jordan will retain a minority ownership stake in the Hornets as part of the agreed-upon sale.

Since 2019, Plotkin has been a minority owner of the Hornets and an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors. Tallwoods Capital LLC is his company, and he is the founder and CEO.

Schnall is a “significant” minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks, according to the Hornets, and has served as an alternate governor on the BOG since 2015. He is in the process of selling his Hawks investment, which should be completed within the next few weeks.

J. Cole and Eric Church, as well as several others from the Charlotte area, are among the new owners. The transaction is subject to the BOG’s approval.

The Associated Press reported in March that Jordan was considering selling the Hornets, but that no deal was imminent.

“Four years ago, Michael Jordan sold a stake in the Charlotte Hornets to a Gabe Plotkin-led group,” Jump Management, which is Michael Jordan’s family office, said in a statement to The Associated Press in March. “As a natural step in a process due to that transaction, Michael and Gabe are in discussions about his group potentially buying an additional stake.

“At this time, it is unclear whether an additional sale will take place,” the statement read.

Michael Jordan is the only African-American owner in the NBA. In 2010, he paid $180 million to Bob Johnson for the expansion team. According to Forbes, the team had a net worth of $1.7 billion after the 2021-22 season.

Schanall is a partner at Clayton Dubilier & Rice and previously worked in investment banking divisions. Schnall, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is an avid basketball fan who knows several college coaches.

Jordan sold a portion of the Hornets to Plotkin, a founder of Melvin Capital, and Daniel Sundheim of DI Capital in 2019, but Jordan retained control of the majority of the team’s equity.

Jordan had a lot of success in the NBA, leading the Chicago Bulls to three-peat championships twice and being named an NBA All-Star 14 times. According to Forbes, he has a current net worth of $2 billion as a result of his Jordan Brand merchandise success. However, Jordan, 60, has not had much success as an NBA owner.

The Hornets are 419-595 since 2010, and missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive time this year. The Hornets have only made the playoffs twice in Jordan’s 13 seasons, and have never advanced past the first round.

The Hornets are the 27th-most valuable NBA franchise in the 30-team league. NBA franchises, however, continue to be in high demand.

In December, Mat Ishbia, a mortgage executive, paid $4 billion for the majority ownership of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury from embattled owner Robert Sarver.

In 2019, Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai agreed to purchase the remaining 51% of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center for approximately $3.4 billion. Tsai previously acquired 49% of the team from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in 2018, with the option to become the team’s controlling owner in 2021.


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