HoopsHype Ed Snider rumors

July 12, 2011 Updates

There was no immediate word on a sale price, which does not include the Wells Fargo Center or the NHL's Flyers, sources said Tuesday. David Blitzer of The Blackstone Group will join Harris as lead partner, according to sources familiar with the deal. Former player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien also is part of the proposed ownership group, sources said. Apollo, which describes itself on its web site as specializing in "contrarian" investments and "distressed" assets, and Blackstone are not involved in the transaction. CBSSports.com

July 7, 2011 Updates

The Philadelphia 76ers likely will be sold to a group led by Joshua Harris, a director at Apollo Global Management LLC, in the next few business days, two people familiar with the negotiations said. Harris will pay about $280 million, according to one of the people, who were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the sale publicly. Harris co-founded Apollo Management in 1990, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and a master’s degree from the Harvard Business School. Apollo went public in March. Comcast-Spectacor, the holding company that owns the National Basketball Association team, said a month ago that it was exploring a sale. Bloomberg

June 11, 2011 Updates

Twenty-five years later, a group led by New York billionaire Joshua Harris is negotiating to buy the 76ers, and Williams said it will be important for the current team management to quickly get on the same page with the new owner. Even if the new owner does not have much - or any - experience in running a franchise, it's vital for management and the coaching staff to have a strong rapport with the new boss. "New ownership comes in and wants to make a difference. . . . They want to put their stamp on it," (Pat) Williams said in a phone interview. "The worry [for management] is that new owners with no background in basketball will become 'experts' in two weeks. If you can get through that, and they begin to understand that this isn't an exact science and doesn't relate fully to how they made their money, and it's a whole industry fully unto itself." Philadelphia Inquirer

Williams said he advises the holdovers to include the new owners in their process of making basketball-related decisions. "I would counsel any new coaches and full-time employees to seek out the owner and keep him in the loop," Williams said. "Owners don't like surprises. . . . Don't let him get secondhand information." Philadelphia Inquirer

June 9, 2011 Updates

Former 76ers coach and president Larry Brown said he wasn't surprised by Tuesday's news that Comcast-Spectacor was deep in negotiations to sell the franchise. Brown said he believes it's a decision Comcast-Spectacor chairman and CEO Ed Snider "has been weighing for quite a while." "I have some friends who are close friends with Ed," said Brown, most recently the head coach of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. "I don't think Mr. Snider wants to do anything [halfway]. . . . I would imagine in this time of his life, if he wasn't able to give 100 percent, he'd rather have somebody else do it." Philadelphia Inquirer

June 8, 2011 Updates

The third source close to the deal cautioned that while this deal is advanced, multiple hurdles remain to be cleared. This same source put finalization of the deal - if such a thing is to happen - at about a week, possibly 10 days. Harris declined comment through a spokeswoman. Snider did not return a phone message, but Peter Luukko, Comcast-Spectacor president and chief operating officer, issued a statement. "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," Luukko said. "At some point, we may have something more to say about these discussions, but we will not be making any comments at this point." Philadelphia Inquirer

But while theories abounded Tuesday, the only thing abundantly clear as word spread of talks to sell the 76ers was this: The investors leading the group seeking to buy the NBA franchise from Ed Snider and Comcast-Spectacor were not talking. Those two men are Joshua Harris and David S. Blitzer, graduates of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who have become big figures in private-equity finance. Harris cofounded New York-based Apollo Global Management L.L.C. in 1990. The company went public April 4, and its executives told investors last month that the firm had $70 billion in total assets under management, up from $56 billion a year earlier. Harris is senior managing director of Apollo, which invests heavily in distressed properties, including real estate and the stranded assets of European banks, such as corporations, real estate, and consumer loans. Before launching Apollo, he worked at the former Philadelphia firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. He remains active with Wharton as a member of its Undergraduate Executive Board. In Forbes' 2010 billionaire rankings, he was reported to have a net worth of $1.2 billion. Philadelphia Inquirer

Blitzer created the London-based European office of the Blackstone Group, one of the largest private-investment groups in the world. After joining Blackstone in 1991, Blitzer worked on several projects, including one that involved the massive shopping-mall real estate holdings of former Pittsburgh Penguins and San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Sr. and his family. Blitzer was in charge of executing Blackstone's investments in Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. In 1994, the mall developer took his company public in a deal that, at the time, was to have converted $121 million in Blackstone debt into an 8 percent stake in the DeBartolo empire. Today, Blitzer is senior managing director and cochair of Blackstone's private-equity group. Philadelphia Inquirer

June 7, 2011 Updates

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." The Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the team could be sold within the week. The source said Harris' group was not the only bidder but is now the lead bidder, adding the deal has been in the works for several months. ESPN.com

David Aldridge: Source says 76ers sale to Joshua Harris group is "not imminent," but confirms talks are ongoing. ESPN.com first reported talks. Twitter

While the bones of ESPN.com's earlier report on the potential sale of the 76ers is accurate, calling the sale "imminent" is too strong. Earlier today, ESPN.com reported that Comcast-Spectacor is in talks to sell the Sixers to a "group led by New York-based leverage buyout specialist Joshua Harris." That information is accurate, as are the details reported in the ESPN.com story. The one caution is that while the two sides are continually talking, there are a myriad of hurdles to overcome before an agreement between the two sides can be reached. Calling the deal "imminent" would not accurately reflect the current situation, which seems to put any potential deal -- if one is indeed reached -- at at least a week-plus in the future. In addition, this deal would allow current owner Ed Snider to retain a small percentage of the Sixers, although certainly not a controlling stake. Philadelphia Inquirer

Two hours ago, Sixers' president and COO Peter Luukko released the following statement about the news: "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." Messages were left for Comcast-Spectacor owner Ed Snider and Luukko. When reached, Sixers president Rod Thorn declined to comment. If the two parties -- that would be Comcast-Spectacor and the group led by Joshua Harris -- reach a deal, the sale would become official only with the approval of the NBA's Board of Governors. As ESPN pointed out, the Sixers were not known to have been for sale before today's news. Philadelphia Inquirer

According to a source, Comcast-Spectacor is in talks to sell the 76ers to a group led by New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris. The potential buyers would become the sixth owners in the team's 65-year history, though any sale would be subject to approval by the NBA. Comcast-Spectacor has owned the Sixers since 1996. Comcast-Spectacor president Peter Luukko released the following statement regarding the situtation: "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." CSNPhilly.com

The Daily News caught up with former Sixers president Pat Croce on the reported "imminent" sale of the team. "I think if you get bought by a passionate owner, who is into it 100 percent, I think it's great ... You want that owner who is dedicated, who has leadership, who will bleed red, white and blue. "When I was there, I didn't care about any other team. I wanted the Sixers to be better than the Flyers, the Eagles and the Phillies. I still rooted for those teams, but I wanted us to be the best, to be the No. 1 team among the fans. Philadelphia Inquirer

Comcast-Spectacor almost sold the 76ers in 2006. In November of that year, Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider said the company could have received a price in excess of the NBA record of $401 million that Robert Sarver paid for the Phoenix Suns and other properties in 2004. As it turned out, the company pulled the Sixers off the market and retained control of the team. Eight parties were believed to have submitted bids initially at that time. The number sunk to four and then a final two, a source said at that time. In November, 2006, Snider said he wasn't surprised by the interest in the Sixers at that time. Philadelphia Inquirer

Comcast-Spectacor and chairman Ed Snider have owned the Sixers since 1996, but an executive confirms Tuesday there are ongoing discussions about the future of the team. The statement from Comcast-Spectacor chief operating officer Peter Luukko came in response to a report on ESPN.com that the Sixers are in talks to sell the team to a group led by New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris. Luukko's statement doesn't mention a possible sale, only "discussions about the future of the team" that are confidential. USA Today

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