Bucks owner to sell team, get wishBucks owner Herb Kohl was well past retirement age and realized it was time to secure the future of the club. He had one big caveat: Keep the team in his hometown of Milwaukee.
The former U.S. senator is banking on New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens to follow through after agreeing to sell them the Bucks for about $550 million. The deal is subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors.
“I’ve approached a time in my life where I have to think about .?.?. how do we think about succession,’’ Kohl, 79, said Wednesday. The deal was announced hours before the team was to play its last game of a dismal season.
The first clue that the Bucks were likely staying in town came before Kohl said a word, when Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele took seats on stage. Kohl has been championing the need for a new arena for years.
As efforts to secure investors ramped up in recent months, Kohl said he thought it might be best to sell the team entirely instead of keeping a stake to give the new owners say over new arena construction.
Lasry and Edens pledged $100 million to help build a new arena. Kohl also announced he would donate $100 million for a new facility.
“Milwaukee fans deserve a winning team,’’ Edens said.
Kohl bought the Bucks for $18 million in 1985. Kohl, a Milwaukee native whose family owned a chain of department stores, was hailed as a hometown hero.
Now local and state officials hope the sale will help shift public discourse in favor of replacing the Bradley Center, the team’s home since 1988.
The Bucks were an NBA-worst 15-66 entering Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks, having already set a franchise record for losses.