Billionaire owner Glen Taylor has retained The Raine Group to sell the franchise he’s owned since 1994. There are several parties who have bid on the team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. A deal could be completed within a month, one of the people said.
Taylor, who bought the team for about $88 million, didn’t want a public auction and instead opted to ask Raine to find a buyer without the usual fanfare that accompanies a franchise sale, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the matter is private. The sale isn’t related to financial hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the people said.
Taylor issued a statement confirming The Rain Group’s involvement in the sale.
“I was recently approached by The Raine Group to discuss the future of our franchise. From the time I bought the team in 1994, I have always wanted what’s best for our fans and will entertain opportunities on the evolution of the Timberwolves and Lynx ownership structure,” the statement said.
The 79-year-old Taylor, chairman of Mankato, Minnesota-based Taylor Corporation, has a net worth of about $3 billion.
Colin Neville, a partner at Raine, declined to comment.
Taylor is seeking at least $1.2 billion for the franchise that Forbes says is worth $1.38 billion, one of the people said.
The Timberwolves have made the playoffs just once in the past 15 seasons. They were averaging 15,066 fans a game at the Target Center before the regular season was halted, placing them last in the 30-team National Basketball Association.
Taylor is a former chairman of the NBA Board of Governors, which is comprised of one representative —usually the owner—from each club.
Raine has extensive experience in sports.
FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, tapped the firm to help raise capital for the World Cup. Raine last year brokered the $500 million deal.
Last year, Raine orchestrated Silver Lake’s $500 million investment into the parent of English Premier League team Manchester City.
(This story has been updated with a statement from Taylor in the fifth paragraph.)