According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the pair “are expected to exercise their option to acquire controlling interest” of the Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx from Glen Taylor, the governor of both teams, ahead of their December 31 deadline to exercise the option.
Woj reported that the move could happen as early Thursday, and added, “The action formalizes intent to purchase additional 40% of franchise from Taylor and give Lore and Rodriguez 80% of teams and the majority ownership by early 2024.”
That, of course, presumes that Lore and Rodriguez will be able to successfully make that third and final payment; according to Sportico, they had 60-to-90 days (deadline in late March) to close on each of the first two payments after exercising the December 31 purchase options. Per a Sportico report published Thursday afternoon, the final payment will take the final structure. They also reported that if the duo is unable to come up with the money by the payment deadline, the rest of the deal is terminated and Purple Buyers LLC will retain the 40% it has already purchased.
Lore and Rodriguez’s Purple Buyers LLC first entered into an agreement with Taylor to acquire the two franchises for $1.5 billion back in April of 2021, per Sportico. They acquired the first 20% of the clubs in 2021, the next 20% for $290 million back on March 28 of this year, and now, reportedly, they will acquire another 40% in early 2024 that will give the duo an 80% stake in the two organizations. Taylor has the option to sell the final 20% of the two teams to Lore and Rodriguez at a later date, if he so chooses.
Axios reported last month that Lore and Rodriguez were close to striking a deal with the Carlyle Group, a U.S.-based private equity firm. As part of the move, Carlyle would invest in the purchase of the two teams. Axios added that the investment assumed a $2.3 billion valuation for the two teams, up from the $1.5 billion number the pair initially agreed to purchase the franchises for.
Here is Axios’s explainer on the reasoning for that jump:
“Part of that premium is just tied to NBA price inflation since A-Rod and Lore signed their original deal — based on sales of clubs in Phoenix and Charlotte — but it’s also because the T-Wolves have become a much better on-court product, which has translated into significantly higher attendance and TV ratings.”
The Phoenix Suns sold for $4 billion, while the Charlotte Hornets sold for $3 billion.
Sportico reported Thursday that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is also joining the Carlyle Group in backing the Wolves and Lynx soon-to-be majority partners. Schmidt was also part of the group led by Josh Harris (managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers) that purchased the Washington Commanders for $6.05 billion earlier this year. That report added that the money raised in this round was at a $2.1 billion valuation, less than the $2.3 billion reported last month by Axios.
Lore and Rodriguez were first introduced to the Twin Cities at Wolves Media Day in 2021, and have made quite the splash since joining the clubs.
Soon after the pair coming on, they hired Tim Connelly away from the Denver Nuggets to be the Wolves President of Basketball Operations on a five-year, $40 million deal that included an ownership stake as part of their effort to revamp the Basketball Operations department. Shortly thereafter, Connelly, Lore and Co. made the decision to trade for then-Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert in a blockbuster move that shook up the NBA trade market. And then in November, they inked Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve to a new five-year contract extension that included a promotion from General Manager to President of Basketball Operations.
And now, the pair are on pace to assume full control of both organizations at a time when the Wolves are 22-7 and the No. 1 seed in a loaded Western Conference.