A group of investors that includes two Wharton graduates may buy 90 percent of the Philadelphia 76ers for $280 million.
The potential buyers, led by 1986 Wharton graduate Joshua Harris and 1991 Wharton graduate David Blitzer, are looking to purchase the basketball team after a 15-year ownership by the sports and entertainment company Comcast-Spectacor.
The parties involved in the negotiations are keeping quiet about the deal.
“I can confirm that we are in discussions about the future of the team, but these discussions are confidential and we cannot talk about the details,” Comcast-Spectacor President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Luukko said in a statement last week. “At some point, we may have something more to say about these discussions, but we will not be making any comments at this point.”
Associate Director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative Scott Rosner said that deals like this one can last months, but that “this transaction seems to be fairly well along in the process.”
Rosner saw the deal as a calculated business decision by the potential buyers. The 76ers are presently “priced fairly conservatively” and the buyers would have the opportunity to “buy low, build assets up, and sell high,” he said.
He added that Harris and Blitzer “really like basketball” and that this is their opportunity to buy a “big-market” basketball team for an estimated “conservative” price of $280 million.
Harris co-founded and currently acts as senior managing director of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management LP. He helped establish the company in New York City in 1990 and built a personal net worth of approximately $1.2 billion as of March 2011, according to Forbes magazine. He also maintains ties to Wharton, serving as a board member of the Wharton Undergraduate Executive Board. Harris and Apollo Global Management declined to comment.
Blitzer established the London office for the Blackstone Group, a financial services firm.
Rising Wharton sophomore Alan Sostek said that it would “be an interesting challenge for the new owners if the deal goes through.”
In 2010, the 76ers operated on a loss of $1.2 million. Also, if the deal were to close, Comcast-Spectacor would still own the Wells Fargo Center, home of the 76ers, as well as all the media surrounding the team.
Rosner stated that Harris and Blitzer’s “success will be based on their operational expertise” and how they manage the organization.
Rising Wharton sophomore Siteng Ma said the two “could use the skills they learned from Management 100 to make the 76ers a more cohesive team.”
Rising Wharton sophomore Yueyi Zhou said a lot of good could come out from the deal, especially as “Penn alumni try to further their ties to Philadelphia.”Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.