Whether you know him from Shark Tank, Entourage, or as a passionate fan sitting in the floor seats at almost every Dallas Mavericks game, the first thing you learn about Mark Cuban is that he is a very rich man. Cuban will likely have a lot more spending money in the coming months, with ESPN reporting that he is in advanced discussions to sell a significant share of the Mavs.
Mark Cuban purchased a majority stake in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for US$285 million (AU$429 million) back in 2000 from Ross Perot Jr. He helped turn a perenially losing team into one of sustained relevance and accomplishment, even going as far as winning the 2011 NBA Championship with Dirk Nowitzki.
This team is his pride and joy, and he’d be the first to tell you that. While other owners are invisible up in their skyboxes and not getting involved with their team’s day-to-day operations, Cuban is sitting with the fans wearing Mavericks merchandise. He travels to watch road games in his own Gulfstream V and frequently talks to the media about the team’s performance as if he were just an impassioned fan.
This is why the news of Mark Cuban selling the Dallas Mavericks initially came as a surprise. NBA teams are growing in value and Cuban’s one happens to have a generational talent in Luka Dončić, in the driver’s seat. Keep in mind, Mark Cuban is the same man who once said:
“If I had to choose between my wife and keeping Luka on the Mavs, catch me at my lawyer’s office prepping for divorce.”
However, it has since been reported Mark Cuban has negotiated an unusual deal to remain as governor of the franchise and maintain control of all basketball decisions.
The mysterious purchasers are the Adelson family, who could be looking to acquire at least 57% of the Mavericks based on the US$3.5 billion (AU$5.3 billion) valuation. This is being led by Miriam Adelson, a medical doctor and the widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson – who built Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands among other monoliths – with an estimated net worth of around US$32.7 billion (AU$49.2 billion) according to Forbes.
An SEC filing found that the Adelsons are selling around US$2 billion (AU$3 billion) in stock in the Las Vegas Sands Corp. in order “to fund the purchase of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise pursuant to a binding purchase agreement, subject to customary league approvals.”
The Adelsons have previously had discussions with Cuban about a potential casino entertainment district in Dallas, which would include a new arena for the Mavs. This would require gambling to become legal in Texas, which Cuban has long lobbied state politicians to make happen.
New owners in the NBA are required to go through a vetting process and must be granted approval by the board of governors. It will likely be at least a few weeks before Cuban is able to completely cash out on this investment he’s held for over two decades.
This news came the day after Cuban announced his departure from the ABC reality program Shark Tank, where he has been a “shark” investor for 12 years. We don’t know what has prompted these recent moves. People have speculated everything from retirement to a presidential campaign, to possible fears of being exposed for going to a deceased New York financier’s island. To borrow some phrasing from the popular show: for whatever reason, he’s out.