Michael Jordan has agreed to sell his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets, of North American basketball’s NBA, for $3 billion to a group led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall.
Plotkin, who founded hedge fund Tallwoods Capital, already owns a minority stake in the North Carolina-based franchise and has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2019.
Schnall, president of private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier, and Rice, owns a minority stake in the Atlanta Hawks and has been an alternate governor on the NBA Board of Governors since 2015.
He is selling his investment in the Hawks, which is expected to be completed in the next several weeks, the NBA announced on Friday (June 16).
The new ownership group will also include former minority stake owner Dan Sundheim, Chris Shumway, Ian Loring, Dyal HomeCourt Partners, rapper J. Cole, country music artist Eric Church, and several local Charlotte investors, including Amy Dawson and Damian Mills.
As part of the transaction, Jordan will retain minority ownership of the Hornets. The transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors.
Along with the franchise, Hornets Sports and Entertainment (HSE) ownership includes the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League) and Hornets Venom GT (NBA 2K League), as well as managing and operating Spectrum Center, each of which is included as part of the sale.
Jordan, a North Carolina native, acquired a majority stake in the Hornets – then known as the Bobcats – for $175 million in 2010. He previously owned a minority stake since 2006.
He was the first former NBA player to become a majority owner and is still the league’s only black majority owner.
Jordan sold a minority stake in the team to Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim in 2019.
Last year, Forbes valued the Hornets at $1.7 billion. This was primarily due to the city approving a $275 million deal to renovate the team’s Spectrum Center arena last June and extending their lease until 2045.
The most recent sale of an NBA franchise came in December when billionaire Mat Ishbia acquired a majority stake in the Phoenix Suns from beleaguered owner Robert Saver for $4 billion, the largest purchase in NBA history and almost double the amount of other recent league transactions.
Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai acquired the Brooklyn Nets for $2.35 billion in 2019, while Tilman Fertitta purchased the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017.
Prior to the Suns, the last majority NBA franchise sale was the $1.66 billion acquisition of the Utah Jazz by Ryan Smith in 2020.