The Haslam Sports Group, owners of the Cleveland Browns and Columbus Crew, are in advanced talks to acquire Marc Lasry’s stake in the Milwaukee Bucks, according to multiple people familiar with the negotiations.
Lasry owns about 25% of the team, and his stint as the Bucks primary governor is nearing an end, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the details are private. Dee and Jimmy Haslam, managing partners of the Haslam Sports Group, have been speaking with the Bucks owners for the past few months, though there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached.
A Haslam Sports Group spokesman declined to comment. A representative for the Bucks declined to comment.
Lasry and Wes Edens led a group that purchased the Bucks in 2014 for $550 million, at the time a record for an NBA franchise in a control transaction. Buoyed by new media deals and growth in global popularity, NBA team values has soared since then. The Bucks are currently worth $2.43 billion, according to Sportico’s numbers, which ranks 15th in the league and 56th among all U.S. sports teams.
The Haslams bought the Browns in 2012 for $1.05 billion, and took control of the Crew in 2018 in a complicated deal that involved the league’s expansion to Austin. The Browns are now worth $3.18 billion and the Crew is now worth $560 million, per Sportico’s numbers. In addition to the two franchises, Haslam Sports Group manages the current stadiums for the Browns and Crew, and it owns a real estate development adjacent to the latter.
The Haslams have been looking to expand their portfolio to include other leagues, particularly the NBA. They were one of the groups interested in buying the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves a few years ago. The Bucks, like the Timberwolves, are geographically close to the Haslams’ other sports properties in Ohio.
Under Lasry and Edens, hedge fund titans whose ownership group also includes Jamie Dinan and Mike Fascatelli, the Bucks have built a new stadium and become one of the league’s more successful teams on the court. Milwaukee has made the playoffs in each of the past six seasons, and led by star Giannis Antetokounmpo, won an NBA title in 2021.
To manage the team, Edens and Lasry agreed to alternate time as the NBA team’s main governor in five-year stints. Edens took the first run, and Lasry took over before the 2019 season. He has about a season and half remaining as the team’s lead owner and primary representative for NBA meetings before Edens takes back over.
Bill Haslam, Jimmy’s brother and the former governor of Tennessee, recently bought the NHL’s Nashville Predators in a multi-year deal that values the club at roughly $775 million.