Chamath Palihapitiya has sold his remaining stake in the Golden State Warriors, the billionaire venture capitalist and SPAC proponent said on Twitter today. The Social Capital founder said he sold an initial tranche in December and his remaining equity last week. In December, Sportico reported that Arctos increased its stake in the Warriors to 13% from 5% at a valuation of roughly $5.5 billion.
The NBA played a role in Palihapitiya’s exit, following his controversial comments in January about the genocide of the Uighur people in China’s Xinjiang region, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Warriors had no comment on the sale.
Joe Lacob and Peter Guber led a group that bought the Warriors in late 2010 for $450 million. Palihapitiya joined the ownership group months later and said he invested $25 million for a 10% stake in the team; debt pushed the team’s enterprise value over $400 million.
On the court, the club took off behind the foundation of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. In 2015, it won the franchise’s first NBA title in four decades and last month captured the fourth title of the Lacob era.
The results off the court have been equally strong. Surging sponsorship and ticket revenue got a further boost with the opening of the Chase Center in 2019. The deep playoff run is expected to push the team’s 2021-22 revenue to more than $800 million, before revenue sharing, and a record for an NBA club. In January, Sportico valued the team at $6.03 billion in its NBA team valuations report, second behind the New York Knicks.
In January, Palihapitiya came under fire for his comments on The All-In podcast that “nobody cares” about the genocide of the Uighur people in China’s Xinjiang region. “Of all the things I care about, it is below my line,” he said on the podcast.
“I recognize that I came across lacking empathy,” the Sri Lankan-born Palihapitiya, who was raised in Canada and is a naturalized U.S. citizen, said in a statement after he faced swift backlash from government officials and human rights advocates.
The Warriors quickly distanced themselves from Palihapitiya’s comments. “As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the team said in a statement.
Palihapitiya was worth $1.2 billion in spring 2021, according to Forbes, but fell off the magazine’s billionaires list in 2022.
(This story has been updated with details of the sale in the second paragraph.)