Kohl Proposes Sale Of Milwaukee Bucks For $550 Mil.

Prospective Owners Wes Edens And Marc Lasry Would Also Contribute Towards New Arena

Above, former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. Photo: Matt Schilder (CC-BY-NC-SA).

Former Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl says he wants to sell the Milwaukee Bucks pro basketball team to two New York-based hedge fund managers.

The prospective new owners say they will keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, and will join Kohl in contributing a total of $200 million towards a new arena in the city.

Kohl has been trying to sell the Bucks for a few months and says he received at least nine good offers. He has now chosen to sell the team to billionaires Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, for a price of $550 million. Edens’ mother is from Wisconsin, and he’s spent time in the state. Edens says this is a successful market for pro sports, and can remain so.

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“Go to a Green Bay Packers game and go to a Brewers game and you see the success you can have with a winning team with the sports community you have here,” said Edens. “The CBA agreement (the NBA) passed recently I think is a tremendous asset for the small-market teams.”

The CBA is the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement with the players union.

Edens and Lasry are also promising to put $100 million into a new arena in Milwaukee. Kohl says he will also put up $100 million, which makes for a total that would be close to 50 percent of the funds for a typical new pro basketball venue, all coming from the private sector. More private dollars may be contributed in the future as well.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says today’s proposed franchise sale and arena funding commitments are game-changers for any people skeptical of committing public dollars.

There are still going to be naysayers – we know there will always be naysayers,” said Barrett. “But then there will be people who want to get things done, and recognize that this is good for Milwaukee.”

Other NBA owners still have to approve the sale of the Bucks, which could happen in the next few days.