Michael Jordan is preparing to sell the Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan is engaged in serious talks to sell a controlling portion of the franchise to an ownership group led by current minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Specifics of that deal are not yet known, though a sale is not imminent. Jordan is expected to keep a minority stake in the team, but Plotkin and Schnall would become co-governors.
No deal is imminent, but there’s significant momentum on a sale that would eventually install Plotkin and Schnall as the co-governors of the Hornets, sources said. If sale is completed, Jordan would be expected to keep a minority stake in team.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 16, 2023
Jordan first became a minority owner in the franchise in 2006, shortly after his Hall of Fame playing career ended. He then purchased the then-Bobcats in 2010 for $275 million. The team has made the playoffs just three times since Jordan took over as the majority owner, but they have never made it out of the first round.
The Hornets are currently worth $1.7 billion, according to Forbes. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans are worth less, but not by much. The Golden State Warriors are the most valuable team in the league at $7 billion.
Former Michigan State guard Mat Ishbia purchased the Phoenix Suns and Mercury earlier this season for around $4 billion, which nearly doubled the previous league record sale of $2.35 billion that Joe Tsai purchased the Brooklyn Nets for in 2019. Jordan’s deal selling the Hornets likely won’t come close to Ishbia’s purchase price, as he is still keeping part of the franchise for himself and Plotkin already owns part of the team.
Plotkin was the founder and chief investment officer of Melvin Capital, which shut down after losing billions in the meme stock saga. It’s unclear how much of the franchise he already owns. Jordan sold a minority stake to Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim in 2020. Sundheim, the founder of D1 Capital, is expected to be part of the new ownership group, too. Schnall, a co-president at private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, is part of the Hawks ownership group led by Tony Ressler and Grant Hill. They purchased the Hawks for $850 million in 2015.