Wed, Nov 29, 2023 5:09 PM
By TIM REYNOLDS and SCHUYLER DIXON, AP Sports Writers
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has entered into an agreement to sell a majority stake in the NBA franchise to the family that runs the Las Vegas Sands casino company, it was announced Wednesday. The deal could be completed in the coming weeks.
The agreement would be in the valuation range of $3.5 billion, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because that detail was not being made public. Cuban would retain control of basketball operations in the deal.
The company controlled by Miriam Adelson, widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, announced earlier Tuesday it was selling $2 billion of her shares to buy an unspecified professional sports team. It revealed Wednesday that the team was the Mavericks.
“The families are targeting a closing of the transaction by year-end, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and approval of the NBA Board of Governors,” said the statement released by the Adelson and Dumont families.
Patrick Dumont, Miriam Adelson's son-in-law, is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Las Vegas Sands company.
Cuban said almost a year ago he was interested in partnering with Sands. He has been a proponent of legalizing gambling in Texas, an issue that didn't make it out of the state Legislature in a biennial session that ended earlier this year.
The 65-year-old Cuban, who just announced he was leaving the popular business TV program “Shark Tank” after a 16th season next year, rose to fame quickly after buying the Mavericks in 2000.
Dallas was one of the worst franchises in pro sports in the 1990s, but turned into one of the best under Cuban, with a lot of help from star forward Dirk Nowitzki — now a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the leader of the team that won the 2011 NBA championship.
Miriam Adelson is the controlling shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a publicly traded Las Vegas company that built the Venetian and Palazzo resorts but now only has casino operations in Macau and Singapore. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire founder and owner of Las Vegas Sands, died in 2021 at 87.
The company revealed the sale of $2 billion in stock in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing identified Adelson and the Miriam Adelson Trust as sellers but didn't specify a team, league or location.
Given the $2 billion stock sale figure, along with the cash addition, it would mean Adelson could be acquiring at least 57% of the NBA team based on the $3.5 billion valuation. The Adelson and Dumont family would also have the right to serve as governor of the Mavericks.
The 78-year-old Adelson, who is a medical doctor, will retain 51.3% of company shares following the sale, according to the filing. The family also owns Nevada’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“We have been advised by the selling stockholders that they currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, along with additional cash on hand, to fund the purchase of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise ... subject to customary league approvals,” the company said in the SEC filing.
The vetting process for new owners in the NBA typically takes at least several weeks, and then approval must be granted by the league’s Board of Governors.
Cuban also said late last year he wanted to build a new arena in downtown Dallas that would also be a casino resort, if Texas does legalize gambling.
Supporters of legalized gambling in Texas hoped to get a constitutional amendment to voters during the most recent session, but the measure didn't get far in the legislative process. The Republican-controlled Legislature doesn't meet in regular session again until 2025.
Cuban isn't likely to disappear from the spotlight since he will retain control of basketball operations. In fact, efforts to legalize gambling in Texas could end up raising the profile of a billionaire who has been highly visible in sports, business and finance for nearly 25 years.
A self-professed basketball junkie who graduated from Indiana University, Cuban is almost always courtside for Mavericks games. He has always been outspoken, too, compiling millions in fines as owner. Many of his tirades were directed at officials.
Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba