A group of investors, led by 1986 Wharton graduate Joshua Harris, will pay approximately $280 million to purchase the Philadelphia 76ers basketball franchise.

The sports and entertainment company Comcast-Spectacor, which owned the team for 15 years, will give up 100 percent ownership of the team and operational control, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The company will still own the Wells Fargo Center — where the 76ers will continue to play — and Comcast SportsNet Philadephia will continue to broadcast the team’s games.

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 in 1990 and built a personal net worth of approximately $1.2 billion as of March 2011, according to Forbes magazine.

He maintains ties to Wharton, serving as a board member of the Wharton Undergraduate Executive Board.

“As a basketball fan who attended college in Philadelphia, and with family roots here, I have always felt a strong connection to this City and the 76ers,” Harris said in a statement. “We are honored to have the opportunity to be affiliated with this storied franchise.”

The new ownership also includes two other Wharton alumni — 1991 graduate David Blitzer and 1987 graduate Art Wrubel.

Blitzer established the London office for the Blackstone Group, a financial services firm.

“We are excited to become associated with this iconic team and to have the chance to serve the great City of Philadelphia and its loyal basketball fans,” he said in a statement.

Wrubel is a portfolio manager for the financial services firm Wesley Capital Management.

The three Wharton alumni are joined by Jason Levien, an attorney and former sports agent who has served as general counsel and assistant general manager for the Sacramento Kings.

The new owners are all making personal investments in the 76ers — their companies are not involved in the deal.

The purchase is subject to approval by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governors and expected to be completed later this year.

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