Michael Jordan's Purchase of Charlotte Bobcats Approved
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Bobcats majority owner Michael Jordan. (Source: Bobcats.com)

Now that Michael Jordan‘s $275 million bid to buy the Charlotte Bobcats from billionaire Robert L. Johnson has been approved by the National Basketball Association’s Board of Governor’s, the former basketball great’s MJ Basketball Holdings L.L.C. has a controlling interest in the team, the Time Warner Cable Arena, and gives him the option to change the team’s name.

“Purchasing the Bobcats is the culmination of my post-playing career goal of becoming the majority owner of an NBA franchise,” said Jordan, in an interview with NBA.com.

Johnson, the founder of The Bobcats Basketball Holdings L.L.C. (No. 40 on the 2009 BE Industrial/Service Companies list), became the first African American owner of an NBA franchise when he paid $300 million for the expansion team in 2002. Jordan, a six-time NBA champion and hall of famer, will be the second African American and the first NBA player to own a franchise. Johnson will remain a minority owner of the team.

“I am confident that Michael’s leadership will bring success to the Bobcats whether it’s measured by on the court performance, success as a business, or making a positive impact in the Charlotte community,” said Johnson, who also owns several companies including Maryland-based RLJ Development (No. 8 on the BE Industrial/Service list with $605.2 million in revenue) and Urban Trust Bank (No. 12 on the 2009 BE Banks list with $206.9 million in deposits).

Jordan is a five-time NBA MVP — notably for the Chicago Bulls — and 14-time All-Star who has made millions selling sneakers, apparel and other items, according to the Associated Press.

Johnson, the creator and former owner of Black Entertainment Television, put the team up for sale because poor on-court performance and little interest from fans have kept ticket sales low and caused the team’s debt to rise. The transaction involves Jordan taking on $150 million of debt, which might be more than his net worth of $400 to $500 million can handle, according to ESPN.

Jordan, 47, bought a minority stake in the Bobcats in 2006, which came with the opportunity to be manager of basketball operations. Critics at ESPN say that both Johnson and Jordan’s absence from daily operations in Charlotte and Jordan’s ineffectual draft picks produced the Bobcat’s lackluster financial performance. However, on the court, the team has improved and the franchise could make its first NBA Championship Playoff appearance this year.

“Now that I’m the principal owner, I understand the commitment I’ve made and know the responsibilities are different,” says Jordan, who resides in Chicago and Charlotte. “I’m up for that challenge. I’ll do whatever I can to make this team a success both on and off the court.

The team was represented in the transaction by GSP Securities LLP and Jordan was represented by Moag and Co.  and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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