Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2004

Deal to buy Nets could bring team to Brooklyn

January 22, 2004

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— The New Jersey Nets' owners have agreed to sell the team to a New York City real estate developer, a move that could bring Brooklyn its first major sports franchise since 1957.

The contract was finalized Wednesday, said Edwin Stier, president of the Community Youth Organization, which owns the Nets.

The developer, Bruce Ratner, wants to move the Nets to a new arena that would be at the center of a proposed $2.5 billion office, residential and shopping complex in Brooklyn.

But the deal must first be approved by the board of YankeeNets, the holding company of the Nets and New York Yankees, which planned to meet Friday.

"I'm very pleased that the process worked and was very successful, and I'm very glad it's over. It was a very intense process of negotiation," Stier said.

Ratner's bid beat out an offer from a group led by real estate developer Charles Kushner and New Jersey Sen. Jon S. Corzine, both of whom sought to keep the team in New Jersey. Ratner and Corzine declined comment Wednesday night; attempts to reach Kushner through his office were unsuccessful. Ratner's bid was reportedly $300 million. Stier wouldn't comment on the amount.

Stier said he informed Kushner of the board's decision late Wednesday.

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