Mark Cuban ironing out $3.5b deal to sell NBA’s Mavericks to Adelson

Agreement between Jewish moguls would see ‘Shark Tank’ star retain control of basketball operations, wife of Las Vegas Sands founder take controlling interest

Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban walks to his seat during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Dallas, November 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban walks to his seat during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Dallas, November 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

AP — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is working on a deal to sell a majority stake in the NBA franchise to the family that runs the Las Vegas Sands casino company, a person with knowledge of the talks said Tuesday night.

The agreement would be in the valuation range of $3.5 billion and take weeks for the league to process, according to the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details weren’t being made public.

Cuban would retain control of basketball operations in the deal. NBA reporter Marc Stein was the first to report the potential sale.

The company controlled by Miriam Adelson, widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, announced earlier Tuesday it was selling $2 billion of her shares to buy an unspecified professional sports team.

Cuban said almost a year ago he was interested in partnering with Sands. He has been a proponent of legalizing gambling in Texas, an issue that didn’t make it out of the state Legislature in a biennial session that ended earlier this year.

The 65-year-old Cuban, who just announced he was leaving the popular business TV program “Shark Tank” after a 16th season next year, rose to fame quickly after buying the Mavericks in 2000.

File: Adelson, wife of late Las Vegas Sands Corporation Chief Executive and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, listens as then-US president Donald Trump speaks at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Florida, December 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Dallas was one of the worst franchises in pro sports in the 1990s, but turned into one of the best under Cuban, with a lot of help from star forward Dirk Nowitzki.

Miriam Adelson is the controlling shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., a publicly traded Las Vegas company that built the Venetian and Palazzo resorts but now only has casino operations in Macau and Singapore. Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire founder and owner of Las Vegas Sands, died in 2021 at 87.

The company revealed the sale of $2 billion in stock in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing identified Adelson and the Miriam Adelson Trust as sellers but didn’t specify a team, league, or location.

If the entirety of the $2 billion goes toward the purchase, it would mean Adelson could be acquiring at least 57 percent of the NBA team — based on the $3.5 billion valuation.

The 78-year-old Adelson, who is a medical doctor, will retain 51.3% of company shares following the sale, according to the filing. The family also owns Nevada’s largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We have been advised by the selling stockholders that they currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, along with additional cash on hand, to fund the purchase of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise … subject to customary league approvals,” the company said in the SEC filing.

The vetting process for new owners in the NBA typically takes at least several weeks, and then approval must be granted by the league’s Board of Governors.

Cuban also said late last year he wanted to build a new arena in downtown Dallas that would also be a casino resort if Texas does legalize gambling.

File: Sands Casino complex is lit up in Macau, May 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Supporters of legalized gambling in Texas hoped to get a constitutional amendment to voters during the most recent session, but the measure didn’t get far in the legislative process. The Republican-controlled Legislature doesn’t meet in regular session again until 2025.

Cuban isn’t likely to disappear from the spotlight since he will retain control of basketball operations. In fact, efforts to legalize gambling in Texas could end up raising the profile of a billionaire who has been highly visible in sports, business, and finance for nearly 25 years.

A self-professed basketball junkie who graduated from Indiana University, Cuban is almost always courtside for Mavericks games. He has always been outspoken, too, compiling millions in fines as owner. Many of his tirades were directed at officials.

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