Prokhorov, Ratner Seal Deal for Nets

view from atlantic and 6th Prokhorov, Ratner Seal Deal for NetsOfficially, Mikhail Prohkorov owns the Nets.

Following Tuesday’s approval from the NBA’s Board of commissioners, the Russian billionaire today closed on a deal with developer Bruce Ratner to buy the Nets for $200 million (and fund tens of millions in losses), according to a joint statement put out by Mr. Ratner’s Forest City Ratner and Mr. Prokhorov.

Per the announcement, the deal for the $900 million arena is now fully financed (Mr. Ratner apparently raised new financing needed to complete the deal), and the $510 million in tax-free bonds have been released from escrow.

Mr. Prokhorov’s statement is below:

“This much-anticipated day has finally come and now the real fun begins of building a championship team with a state-of-the-art home in the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards. It’s a wonderful opportunity to combine great sports and good business, and I look forward to working with Bruce Ratner and Forest City and with the Nets organization as we move ahead.  To the fans, whether in New Jersey, Brooklyn, or Moscow, I will do everything I can to give you a winning team. See you at the Draft Lottery.”

And here’s Mr. Ratner’s: “This is a partnership that will allow us to bring Brooklyn and the Nets to a world-wide audience. I’m thrilled to have Mikhail on board and look forward to working with him as we embark on this journey to Brooklyn.”

Update 3:55 p.m.

With the closing and a new $75 million investment by Mr. Prokhorov, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s dropped a downgrade watch on the $511 million in tax-free bonds, leaving the existing BBB- rating on the bonds. Essentially, this means S&P believes there’s less risk to the project than it did a few weeks ago, given that Mr. Ratner has found a way to get it fully financed.

Mr. Prokhorov, who now owns 45 percent of the arena development, put in an additional $75.8 million loan to help finance the project, according to the report, a loan that “has certain equity like characteristics.” 

ebrown@observer.com