MILWAUKEE — Bucks owner Herb Kohl has reached a deal to sell the NBA franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million.
Kohl announced the deal Wednesday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center hours before the team was to play its final game of a dismal season. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA and its Board of Governors.
Kohl is a former U.S. senator who has owned the team since 1985. Efforts to find new investors ramped up this year, and Kohl made it a priority to find owners or investors who will keep the franchise in Milwaukee.
It appears the Bucks won’t be going anywhere after Lasry and Edens committed another $100 million to help build a new arena. Kohl also announced he would donate $100 million to the cause.
“Milwaukee fans deserve a winning team,” Edens said.
Kohl has spoken for years about the need to upgrade or replace the Bradley Center, the team’s downtown home, which opened in 1988.
“We should be shouting from the rooftops because this is a game-changer for this entire debate,” Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett said.
Edens said he hopes to get a plan for a new arena in a year and have it built in a couple years. He said he thought about $400 million could be a benchmark for building the facility.
The Bucks were sold to Kohl for $18 million in 1985. Kohl, 79, is a Milwaukee native whose family owned a chain of department stores.
The Bucks were an NBA-worst 15-66 entering Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks and already have set a franchise record for futility.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@defpenradio