In stunning news from the NBA, Mark Cuban is selling a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks to Miriam Adelson, wife of the late Sheldon Adelson, and the Adelson family. Adelson, the controlling shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., is selling about $2 billion worth of Sands shares to finance the purchase. The Dumont family is also a partner in taking over the team.
Once the stock sale is complete, Las Vegas Sands will repurchase approximately 5.8 million shares for approximately $250 million.
Cuban is arguably the most visible NBA team owner, so the news that he will no longer have a controlling interest in the team after a quarter century is somewhat shocking. Interestingly, he also announced this week that he would be leaving the hit television show Shark Tank after 16 seasons.
Adelson and the Dumonts also represent an underpayment because it is based on a franchise valuation of about $3.5 billion, although Forbes valued the Mavericks at $4.5 billion last year, the seventh-highest valuation in corresponds to the NBA.
One thing that might explain Cuban’s willingness to take less than he otherwise should is that he continues to maintain operational control of the organization. Cuban is considered one of the most active owners in sports. Had Miriam Adelson wanted to control the operations or use her own person/people, Cuban may have negotiated a higher salary.
It’s no coincidence that Mark Cuban was sold to Miriam Adelson. He has a long-standing relationship with the family (and billionaires hang out with billionaires) — the Adelsons presented him with the In Pursuit of Excellence Award at a scholarship fundraising gala in 2017.
And for years, Cuban has said he wants to build a new arena connected to a larger entertainment district that would include a casino. However, casino gambling is not legal in Texas. Cuban has been lobbying state lawmakers to make this happen.
Almost a year ago, he told The Dallas Morning News: “My goal, and we would work with Las Vegas Sands, is that we build a new arena in the middle of a resort and casino. “That’s the mission.”
The Dallas Mavericks franchise was founded in 1980 but never enjoyed much sustained success until Cuban purchased the team from Ross Perot Jr. in 2000 for $285 million. They were instant contenders until Cuban took over and have only missed the playoffs four times in over two decades.
The Mavericks have reached the NBA Finals twice under Cuban (and full stop in franchise history). They lost to the Miami Heat in 2006 and got revenge in 2011 by defeating the Heat and winning the team’s only NBA title.
Photo credit: Flickr.com / Gage Skidmore