Alibaba's Tsai nears deal to buy rest of NBA's Brooklyn Nets - source

FILE PHOTO: Alibaba's Tsai speaks at the WSJ Digital Conference in Laguna Beach

(Reuters) - Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> co-founder Joseph Tsai is nearing a deal to buy the 51% stake he does not already own in the U.S. basketball team Brooklyn Nets, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The deal would value the NBA team at $2.35 billion (£1.9 billion), the source said.

If the negotiations conclude successfully, a deal could be announced as early as this month, the source said.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov had sold a 49% stake in the team to Tsai in April last year.

Tsai had then reserved the option to acquire additional shares in 2021, which would make him the controlling owner.

The sale would mark a new record for a U.S. professional sports franchise, the Wall Street Journal reported first on Wednesday. (

The Brooklyn Nets declined to comment on the deal.

(Reporting by Gregory Roumeliotis in New York and; Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)