Rodriguez, Lore investment partners change; Wolves/Lynx sale nears completion

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)· Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune/TNS

Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore have secured a minority investor in the Minnesota Timberwolves as they try to finalize their deal to take majority ownership of the team and WNBA counterpart Minnesota Lynx from Glen Taylor.

Blue Owl HomeCourt, a $700 million fund managed by a division of publicly-traded Blue Owl Capital, has acquired a minority stake in the Timberwolves, a source familiar with the deal told the Star Tribune. The percentage of that acquisition was not disclosed.

The $1.5 billion acquisition by Lore and Rodriguez was set to close by the end of March, when Lore and Rodriguez's stake in the team would jump from 40% to 80%. Sources say the acquisition should still close on schedule.

A previous potential investor, Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm, decided not to move forward in a deal that would have provided structural financing to Lore and Rodriguez, a source familiar with the negotiations told the Star Tribune this week.

The deal with Carlyle was meant to aid the next ownership payment.

HomeCourt was formed in 2020 as a partnership with the NBA "to provide institutional capital to the NBA ecosystem" and is used to acquire minority equity stakes from minority shareholders of NBA teams. As such, its ownership stake does not require NBA approval.

The fund has previously invested in the NBA's Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns. In 2022, HomeCourt acquired a 6% equity stake in the Hawks from nine existing minority shareholders.

Carlyle's investment required NBA approval, but the two sides could not reach an agreement during negotiations, the source said. As a result, Carlyle backed out of the deal.

Other outlets reported the NBA blocked the deal, but NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league "did not deny Carlyle's proposed investment in the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx."

The Timberwolves declined to comment.

The NBA previously stated the transaction will close following league approval. Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune, acquired the Timberwolves in 1994.

The Timberwolves are valued at $2.5 billion, the second-lowest of the 30-team league, but still nearly four times the team's value a decade ago, according to Forbes.

Within its portfolio of investments, Carlyle Group provides financing to businesses interested in acquiring entities in sports and entertainment. The firm, which finished 2023 with $426 billion in assets under management, has deployed more than $4 billion into sports and entertainment since 2018 and recently reached an agreement to acquire the Seattle Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League.

David Rubenstein, who co-founded the Carlyle Group, earlier this year bought the Baltimore Orioles for $1.75 billion.

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