Nets will sell 49 percent stake to Alibaba co-founder

Mikhail Prokhorov Reportedly Sells Minority Stake in Nets to Joseph Tsai

ESPN reported Friday that Joseph Tsai, co-founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has reached an agreement in principle to become a minority owner of the team. They also noted the "presumption" is Tsai will utilize the option to take over controlling interest.

The 53-year-old Tsai won't be able to take part in operations due to his minority stake in the franchise, and since the deal excludes the acquisition of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn - Prokhorov is expected to renew a lease for the arena, since he owns the area.

The sources told ESPN that the price of Tsai's stake will be based upon a $2.3 billion valuation of the team.

Worth noting that Reuters sources revealed the potential Nets investment earlier this month and Alibaba denied the report to CNBC. The deal values the team at $2.3 billion.

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Prokhorov purchased the Nets in May 2010 and ushered their move to Brooklyn for the 2012 season, where the team has largely been a disappointment. With a high payroll and poor record, Brooklyn reportedly lost over $44 million last season.

Prokhorov bought controlling interest in the Nets and a stake in the Barclay's Center development from real estate developer Bruce Ratner in 2009.

Tsai was born in Taiwan, educated at Yale University - both undergrad and law school - and holds a Canadian citizenship. Tsai has a rich personal history with athletics, including his days as a high school lacrosse and football player at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey.

It didn't take long for Prokhorov to sour on National Basketball Association ownership.

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