UPDATE 12:58 pm: Via CSN Philadelphia, Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko released a statement about the sale and situation:
“I can confirm that we are in discussions about the future of the team, but these discussions are confidential and we cannot talk about the details. At some point, we may have something more to say about these discussions, but we will not be making any comments at this point.”
That confirms they are taking place and are serious enough that Comcast-Spectacor is not blowing off the report. These sales are detailed and tend to take time, so we’ll see how close they really are. Also, once a sale is completed it is not finalized until approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors (the other owners).
11:35 am: In a surprise turn of events, the Philadelphia 76ers may soon have new ownership.
That’s the report from Henry Abbott at ESPN.
Philadelphia 76ers owner Comcast- Spectacor is in talks to sell the team to a group led by New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris, according to sources.
Negotiations are ongoing and a source with knowledge of the talks called a deal “imminent.”…
Harris, 46, co-founded Apollo Global Management, which invests primarily in distressed properties, in 1990. In Forbes’ 2011 billionaire rankings, Harris was reported to have a net worth of $1.5 billion. Other partners in the deal include private equity executive David Blitzer and former NBA player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien.
Levien is still an active agent for players such as Kevin Martin and Udonis Haslem among others, but he would have to shed those to take on this new role. One would expect with his experience he would handle a lot of day-to-day operations for the new ownership.
Ed Snider, now 78, has controlled the team through his holding company Spectacor for five years. Spectator merged with Comcast, which is why Comcast-Spectacor is listed as the owner of the team.
Snider is a hockey guy — he is a founder of the Philadelphia Flyers and is in the hockey Hall of Fame. He also owns the Wells Fargo Center, where the Sixers and Flyers play. He is selling only the Sixers, who would be a tenant in the building.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes this means for the Sixers. They are a team that started to find its way back from mediocrity last season, taking a leap forward under coach Doug Collins (and with an actually healthy Elton Brand in the middle). They made the playoffs but lost in the first round to the Miami Heat.