Mark Cuban to sell majority stake in Mavericks to Miriam Adelson, but maintain operations: sources

By Shams Charania, Mike Vorkunov and Tim Cato

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is selling a majority stake in the franchise to Miriam Adelson and her family for a valuation of about $3.5 billion, league sources said. Cuban, however, will retain stock in the team and full control of basketball operations.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced Tuesday in a filing with the SEC that Adelson was selling $2 billion worth of company stock to buy a majority stake in a sports franchise, along with his own cash. This is approximately 10 percent of his share.

“The selling shareholders have informed us that they currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, together with additional cash on hand, to finance the purchase of a controlling interest in a professional sports franchise pursuant to a binding purchase agreement, subject to customary league approvals,” Las Vegas Sands said in the SEC filing.

Adelson is the largest shareholder in Las Vegas Sands Corp., which was previously owned and run by her late husband, Sheldon Adelson. She is one of the richest people in the world; Forbes named her the 35th richest woman this year and the fifth richest woman, with an estimated net worth of $32.3 billion. Las Vegas Sands Corp. had $2.8 billion in revenue in the third quarter of its fiscal year alone. Sheldon Adelson was a casino magnate who built the Sands Casino in Las Vegas and then several other resort casinos in Singapore and Macau.

He and Miriam Adelson were prominent Republican donors and contributors to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as supporters of Israel and Jewish causes. They donated $180 million to Republican campaigns and political action committees in 2020, according to Forbesand have reportedly donated nearly half a billion dollars to Birthright Israel over the past two decades.

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Adelson’s skill in real estate and stadium development, as well as launching casino gaming and entertainment in Dallas, were attractive factors in Cuban’s sale, league sources said. Last year he told the Dallas Morning News that he intended to partner with Las Vegas Sands Corp. to build a casino and resort in Dallas that would also include a venue for the Mavericks. Texas does not have legalized sports betting.

Miriam Adelson will add to the Mavericks in a series of diverse investments. The family owns two newspapers: Israel Hayom in Israel and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

However, no asset will garner as much interest as the Mavericks. Cuban took advantage of it and helped fuel the franchise’s intrigue. He bought the Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million and, although he didn’t gain his initial wealth through the team, he sold them. Transmission.com to Yahoo! In 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom, Cuban gained some fame and prestige as its owner. He was loud and visible in Dallas, often haranguing referees from his courtside seat early in his tenure, but the Mavericks reached two NBA Finals and made the playoffs in all but five seasons. who owned the team.

Cuban will continue to serve as the franchise’s head of basketball operations if the NBA approves the deal; he is the rare owner who sells his majority stake but remains in charge. But it could also open the door to new ventures. He then built his public profile over the years, starring as a judge on Shark Tank and developing a reputation as a prominent businessman. Cuban has also had several public flirtations with his political career.

For more than two decades, Cuban has been as much the face of the Mavericks as any of the stars who have played for the franchise in that time. Loud, opinionated and many times fined by the NBA, Cuban has been front and center during the nearly 23 years he has owned the franchise. He has been a staple on the bench and a prominent voice on the board. That strategy has worked quite well for the Mavericks; They won an NBA title in 2011 and nearly another in 2006.

NBA reporter Marc Stein was the first to report that the sale was in the works.

Why did Cuban make the decision?

This transaction is as interesting as it is surprising. At a time when the NBA, and every other sports league, is leaning into sports betting, the Mavericks are being purchased by the family of one of the country’s largest casino magnates, Sheldon Adelson, who died in 2021. Miriam Adelson and The Miriam Adelson Trust leads a group that owns 57 percent of Las Vegas Sand Corp., which owns and operates casinos around the world. If approved, Adelson would become just the third woman to be the primary owner of an NBA team at this time, joining Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers and Gayle Benson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Jody Allen leads the Portland Trail Blazers as president of the Paul G. Allen Trust.

This is the second basketball team the Adelson family has purchased this year. Matan Adelson, Miriam’s son, bought Hapoel Jerusalem this summer, an Israeli club that also plays in the Euro Cup.

This transaction also ends a seemingly endless valuation increase for NBA teams. Team values ​​seemed to continue to rise and shift to the right over the past decade. But after the Hornets were sold for $3 billion earlier this year, and a 25 percent stake in the Bucks was sold for a $3.5 billion valuation, and Mat Ishbia bought a majority stake in the Suns for With a valuation of $4 billion, the Mavericks did not exceed that figure. number. It’s a bit surprising because Dallas-Fort Worth is the fifth-largest media market in the country and Dallas is the ninth-largest city by population. Not to mention, the Mavericks have been successful recently and have one of the NBA’s biggest stars in Luka Doncic.

It’s also a win for Cuban, who can continue to run basketball operations despite selling most of his shares. — Mike Vorkunov, national basketball business reporter

Cuban has already given some managerial influence to Nico Harrison

Cuban’s identity has been so closely tied to the Mavericks since he bought the team in 2000 that his decision to sell them is shocking. But that’s why he got something unprecedented: continued control of basketball operations, something Cuban has long been known for.

Since Nico Harrison was hired as general manager in 2021, Cuban has been a less influential figure in front office matters: He’s still actively involved and aware of what’s going on, but leaves more of those decisions in Harrison’s hands. who has brought a much more rigid structure to the team than in the past under former general manager Donnie Nelson.

We may not know what Cuban’s unique arrangement means, on a functional level, until more time has passed. Maybe there’s something else driving Cuban’s decision to sell, but there’s no doubt the Mavericks are headed toward an unknown future. — Tim Cato, Mavericks writer

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(Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)