Glen Taylor remains owner of Timberwolves, Lynx; he says sale to Marc Lore, Alex Rodriguez fell through – Star Tribune

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In a significant development for the future of the Timberwolves and Lynx, Glen Taylor said Thursday he will remain the controlling owner of both franchises.

Taylor said that Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez did not close on a $1.5 billion sale of a controlling interest in the franchises by a deadline Wednesday.

Lore and Rodriguez are disputing Taylor’s version of events, accusing Taylor of “seller’s remorse” while saying they fulfilled their obligations for the purchase of another 40% stake in the franchises.

That purchase, to bring their total stake close to 80%, was not completed by Wednesday’s deadline, according to Taylor. He remains the controlling owner and said he plans to remain so even after a three-year process that was supposed to end with him handing over the reins of the franchise.

“Lore and A-Rod now own 36 percent,” Taylor said Thursday by phone to the Star Tribune. “I will work with them, as I do with my other limited [partners].”

In a statement issued by the Timberwolves earlier in the day, Taylor said, “The Timberwolves and Lynx are no longer for sale.”

Lore and Rodriguez responded to Taylor’s statement by claiming they had the necessary pieces in place to complete the purchase.

“We are disappointed,” Lore and Rodriguez said in their joint statement. “We have fulfilled our obligations, have all necessary funding and are fully committed to closing our purchase of the team as soon as the NBA completes its approval process. Glen Taylor’s statement is an unfortunate case of seller’s remorse that is shortsighted and disruptive to the team and the fans during a historic winning season.”

The Timberwolves are 50-22 this season and vying for the top playoff seed in the NBA’s Western Conference.

One source of the disagreement revolves around section 6.4 (a) of the pact between the parties. Lore and Rodriguez, as part of their sale agreement, exercised a “call option” on Dec. 31 for the so-called “second tranche” of the sale. That gave them a nearly three-month window, which closed Wednesday, to consummate that part of the sale for 40% of the teams. This was the same process Lore and Rodriguez used to purchase approximately 20% of the franchise in 2023.

But that deadline can be extended 90 days if the sides are awaiting league approval to finish the deal. A source said Lore and Rodriguez submitted financial paperwork to the league last week to consummate the deal and argue that constitutes another 90-day extension.

Taylor, however, said an agreement between him, Lore and Rodriguez would have to occur first before the league would then approve. That deal didn’t happen, Taylor maintains. The NBA did not respond to a request for comment.

“They didn’t meet our obligations, so we’re just saying the deal is off,” Taylor said. “But even if we said, ‘OK, we think we have a deal with you’ they have to start all over and go to the league and the league has to approve of them. … That’s no guarantee.”

Taylor retains approximately 60% of the team at a time when the value of NBA franchises has increased. In October, Forbes valued the Timberwolves and Lynx at $2.5 billion, $1 billion more than the price Taylor agreed to with Lore and Rodriguez. Taylor said he was hearing from his other limited partners, who would make about half of the next 40%, that he should seize an opportunity to get them a better value on the deal.

“I have a responsibility to my partners,” Taylor said.

It remains to be seen what legal action might come from the Lore/Rodriguez camp.

Taylor bought the Wolves in 1994 for $88 million. Lore and Rodriguez control what Taylor says is 36% of the Timberwolves and Lynx from two previous purchases in 2021 and 2023.

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In recent weeks, Lore and Rodriguez were working to secure funding to complete the sale. A deal with the Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group fell through recently but Lore and Rodriguez obtained an investment from Blue Owl HomeCourt.

Blue Owl was formed in 2020 as a partnership with the NBA “to provide institutional capital to the NBA ecosystem” and is used to acquire minority equity stakes from minority shareholders of NBA teams.

The fund has previously invested in the Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns but usually in smaller percentages. In 2022, HomeCourt acquired a 6% equity stake in the Hawks from nine minority shareholders.

Taylor said he would have no problem with Lore and Rodriguez being part of the franchise moving forward despite the deal breaking down from his point of view.

“I’m OK that they have ownership and they put in for their ownership,” Taylor said. “It’ll be a good investment on their part and [I] continue to work with them. I don’t have any problem with it. They come in and I’ve had limited [partners] ever since I started this for 40 years.”

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