MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has reached agreement on his $1.5 billion sale of the club to e-commerce mogul Marc Lore and former baseball star Alex Rodriguez, a person with knowledge of the negotiation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because league approval was still pending and neither side had publicly announced an agreement.
The deal, Taylor previously said, has been contingent on Lore and Rodriguez keeping the team in Minnesota. The two sides entered an exclusive negotiating window on April 10. Lore and Rodriguez are 50-50 partners. They tried to buy the New York Mets last year but were beaten out for the Major League Baseball club by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen.
Any sale of an NBA club must ultimately approved by the league’s Board of Governors. The Timberwolves would then become the second NBA franchise sold this season. Gail Miller and her family struck an agreement in October to sell the Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith, a deal that was finalized after Board of Governors' approval in December.
The 80-year-old Taylor, a lifelong Minnesotan who bought the Wolves in 1994 for $88 million to save them from moving to New Orleans, has said he will continue to run the club for two more seasons until a handover in 2023. The Minnesota Lynx WNBA team is included in the sale.
“They’ve asked that I would be there for any decisions that would need to be made. I would enjoy that. I love teaching people. These are a couple of very bright guys, and I think it could be helpful to the club and I think I could be helpful to them so that they feel confident once they take over 100%,” Taylor said an interview last month.
Lore became Walmart’s e-commerce chief in 2016, when the retail giant bought his Jet.com startup in an attempt to boost online business. Lore notified Walmart on Jan. 31 of his intent to leave the company. The 49-year-old Lore will continue to serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser through September.
The 45-year-old Rodriguez hit 696 home runs over 22 major league seasons, with the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. His last season on the field was 2016, marking the end of marvelous career that was tainted by performance-enhancing drug use he later admitted to. Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season for violating MLB policy.
Lore said in an interview with Bloomberg this week that he and Rodriguez have launched a venture capital firm. The pair first approached Taylor about a purchase last month and met with him and his wife at their winter home in Naples, Florida.
Taylor has engaged in sale talks with numerous suitors over the years but taken a deliberate approach to finding a buyer he’s comfortable with. He said previously that his initial meeting with Lore and Rodriguez went “terrifically well.”
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
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