New Milwaukee Bucks prospective owners Wes Edens (left) and Marc Lasry (right) speaking at Wednesday's press conference.
Herb Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for $18 million back in 1985, starting his 29-year tenure as owner. For the last few months, he has been searching for potential investors to take the franchise off his hands.
Today, he announced that he has entered into a signed purchased agreement with two prospective owners in Marc Lasry and Wesley R. Edens. The sale of his lifelong team is for approximately $550 million and will now await league approval at league meetings Thursday.
“My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee. Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks.” Kohl said Wednesday afternoon inside the atrium of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
“This state has great sports fans and deserves a championship caliber team. I believe these two men are the right people, and the right fit, at the right time. Both men are familiar with the sports landscape in Wisconsin, and have attended sporting events in both Milwaukee and Green Bay.” Kohl said.
Marc Lasry is the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and a Co-founder of Avenue Capital Group. Lasry obtained his B.A. in History from Clark University in 1981 and a J.D. from New York Law School in 1984.
Wesley R. Edens graduated from Oregon State University and obtained his B.S. in Finance. Currently, he sits as a Principle, Founder and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC.
“Mark and I are lifelong basketball fans and competitive guys. It’s been a very a competitive process and we’re very happy to be sitting where we are right now as prospective owners. He [Senator Kohl] is a crazed Bucks fan and he’s all about the team, the community, and winning. We’re really looking forward to the experience of being an owner,” Edens said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We have a big vision, and we are very inspired to be carrying that forward today.”
Throughout the entire process, Kohl has let it be known that plans for a new arena needed to be made before a sale went through. The BMO Harris Bradley Center opened on October 1, 1988, and has served as an entertainment center in the city of Milwaukee ever since. From concerts, sporting events, to Miley Cyrus tours, it has served its purpose well downtown.
Wednesday, it was announced that a total of at least $100 million will be contributed towards a new arena for the franchise in the future. Edens projects that the plans for it will begin in a few years. Milwaukee has until 2019 to reach an agreement for a new building after obtaining a two-year extension from the NBA. Their deadline was originally set for 2017.
On top of the contributions from Lasry and Edens, Kohl will also be adding $100 million of his own private money towards the mission.
"As a public servant, philanthropist and owner of the Bucks, Senator Herb Kohl has had an extraordinary impact on his home city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement regarding Kohl’s contribution.
“His historic and unprecedented $100 million gift to the city of Milwaukee to secure the future of this franchise emphatically underscores his passion, commitment and generosity to his community."