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Sovereign Wealth Funds Target Minority Stakes in NBA Teams

Sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East are being linked with investments in minority stakes in NBA clubs. Funds cited include Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

NBA rules allow for investments of up to 20 per cent by sovereign wealth funds.

The New York Knicks, owned by Madison Square Garden Sports (MSGS), is considered one of the target clubs. MSGS president David Hopkinson said this month that the company was open to selling a minority stake in the Knicks. The largest single equity stakeholder in MSGS, the private equity fund Silver Lake Management, already has strong links with Abu Dhabi.

The QIA is reported to have been a part of the failed USD3bn bid by private equity firms Thiel Capital and Shasta Ventures to acquire the Phoenix Suns NBA team and Phoenix Mercury WNBA team for USD3bn in December. The teams were acquired by mortgage lender Mat Ishbia for USD4bn.


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