Dr. Miriam Adelson will reportedly use proceeds from a $2 billion sale of Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) equity and cash on hand to acquire what’s believed to be a majority interest in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He’s reportedly in talks to sell a majority stake in the team to Miriam Adelson. (Photo: Reuters)
While the exact percentage of Adelson’s interest in the team hasn’t been revealed, $3.5 billion represents a massive chunk of the $4.5 billion Forbes valued the Mavericks at last month. The transaction, which is subject to approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors, would be one of the most unprecedented arrangements in US professional sports history because it would allow current owner Mark Cuban to maintain day-to-day control of the team he bought nearly 24 years ago.
Typically when sports franchises change hands, the new majority owners look to make their mark on the team and the previous regime is relegated to smaller roles or ushered out.
News of Adelson’s divestment of $2 billion worth of Sands shares — her first sale since her late husband Sheldon Adelson died in January 2021 — was reported earlier today. LVS said it will repurchase up to $250 million worth of the stock she’s selling.
Adelson Mavericks Deal Stokes Plenty of Speculation
In the wake of news breaking about Adelson — the richest Israeli and one of the wealthiest women in the world — acquiring a stake in the Mavericks, speculation as to her motivations reached a fevered pitch on social media.
Some of the conjecture centered on the idea that Adelson could move the Mavericks to Las Vegas, which is unlikely. More probable though far from a sure bet is the notion that Cuban could be leveraging the deal as an avenue for bringing a casino resort to the Dallas area. He’s been overt in his desire to do that, noting he’d partner with Sands on such a project.
It’s also possible that Adelson and the Miriam Adelson Trust simply see investment opportunity in the Mavericks. Sales of US sports franchises are rare and owing to the small number of teams across the four major domestic sports leagues, such transactions usually fetch massive sums of money.
For example, the last two sales of NBA teams — the Charlotte Hornets and the Phoenix Suns — commanded $3 billion and $4 billion, respectively. Cuban is sitting pretty. The 65-year-old Shark Tank star paid just $285 million for majority percentage of the Mavericks in January 2020.
Interesting Tidbits in Adelson Mavericks Deal
Assuming she becomes the governor of the Mavericks, Adelson will join Houston Rockets boss Tilman Fertitta as the only two NBA owners with majority control of casino gaming companies. Others, including Cuban, have invested in fantasy sports and sports wagering operators.
The big difference between Adelson and Fertitta is that she’s not involved with day-to-day business at Sands while he oversees the Golden Nugget casino empire. Should the transaction be approved, Adelson would join Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers as the only female majority owners of NBA franchises.
Another interesting point could be future interactions between Adelson and Mavericks star Kyrie Irving. Adelson is a fierce supporter of Israel and recently excoriated Hamas supporters in an editorial in an Israeli newspaper she owns. Last year, Irving was suspended by the NBA after posting a link on X, then Twitter, to “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” a 2018 film rooted in anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial.
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