By Shams Charania, Mike Vorkunov and Tim Cato
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is selling a majority stake in the franchise to Miriam Adelson and her family at a valuation of about $3.5 billion, league sources said. The Cuban, however, will retain shares in the team and full control of basketball operations.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced Tuesday in an SEC filing that Adelson was selling $2 billion worth of company stock to invest in buying a majority stake in a sports franchise, along with his own money. This is about 10% of your quota.
“We have been advised by the selling stockholders that they currently intend to use the net proceeds from this offering, together with additional liquidity, to finance the purchase of a majority interest in a professional sports franchise pursuant to a binding purchase agreement, subject to at customary league approvals,” Las Vegas Sands said in the SEC filing.
Adelson is the largest shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., previously owned and operated by her late husband, Sheldon Adelson. She is one of the richest people in the world; Forbes named her the 35th richest woman this year and the fifth richest woman, with an estimated net worth of $32.3 billion. Las Vegas Sands Corp. reported revenue of $2.8 billion in the third quarter of its fiscal year alone. Sheldon Adelson was a casino magnate who built the Sands Casino in Las Vegas and then several other casino resorts in Singapore and Macau.
He and Miriam Adelson were major Republican donors and contributors to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, as well as supporters of Israel and Jewish causes. According to the data, they donated $180 million to Republican campaigns and political action committees in 2020 Forbesand have reportedly donated nearly $500 million to Birthright Israel over the past two decades.
Who is Miriam Adelson, the casino billionaire who buys the Mavs from Mark Cuban?
Adelson’s prowess in real estate and arena development, as well as the launch of casino gaming and entertainment in Dallas were attractive factors in selling Cuban, league sources said. Last year he told the Dallas Morning News that he intended to partner with Las Vegas Sands Corp. to build a casino and resort in Dallas that would include a home for the Mavericks. Texas has not legalized sports betting.
Miriam Adelson will add the Mavericks to a number of different investments. The family owns two newspapers: Israel Hayom in Israel and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
No asset, however, will generate as much interest as the Mavericks. Cuban fed off that and helped spark the intrigue of the franchise. He purchased the Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million and, although he did not earn his initial wealth through the team, he sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo! in 1999, at the height of the dot com boom, Cuban gained some fame and established himself as its owner. He was loud and visible in Dallas, often haranguing officials from his courtside seat early in his tenure, but the Mavericks reached two NBA Finals and made the playoffs in all but five seasons he owned the squad.
Cuban will continue to serve as the franchise’s head of basketball operations if the NBA approves the deal — the rare owner who sells his majority stake but remains in charge. But he could also open it up to new ventures. He then built his public profile over the years, starring as a judge on Shark Tank and developing a reputation as a prominent entrepreneur. The Cuban has also had several public adventures with his political career.
For more than two decades, Cuban has been the face of the Mavericks as much as any star who has played for the franchise during that time. Loud, opinionated and too often fined by the NBA, Cuban has put himself in the spotlight in the almost 23 years in which he has owned the franchise. He has been a staple on the sidelines and a leading voice in the front office. This strategy worked quite well for the Mavericks; they won an NBA title in 2011 and nearly another in 2006.
NBA reporter Marc Stein was the first to report that the sale was underway.
Why Cuban made this move
This transaction is as interesting as it is surprising. At a time when the NBA, and every other sports league, is leaning on sports betting, the Mavericks are purchased by the family of one of the country’s biggest casino moguls, Sheldon Adelson, who died in 2021. Miriam Adelson and The Miriam Adelson Trust heads a group that owns 57% of Las Vegas Sand Corp., which owns and operates casinos around the world. If approved, Adelson would become the third woman to be the principal owner of an NBA team at this time, joining Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers and Gayle Benson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Jody Allen manages the Portland Trail Blazers as president of the Paul G. Allen Trust.
This is the second basketball team purchased by the Adelson family this year. Matan Adelson, Miriam’s son, bought Hapoel Jerusalem, an Israeli club that also plays in the EuroCup, this summer.
This transaction also ends a seemingly endless climb in valuation for NBA teams. The value of teams seemed to continue to go up and right over the last decade. But after the Hornets were sold for $3 billion earlier this year, and a 25% stake in the Bucks was valued at $3.5 billion, and Mat Ishbia bought a majority stake in the Suns at a $4 billion valuation, the Mavericks didn’t surpass that figure. number. It’s a little surprising because Dallas-Fort Worth is the fifth largest media market in the country, and Dallas is the ninth largest city by population. Not to mention, the Mavericks have been recently successful and have one of the biggest stars in the NBA in Luka Doncic.
It’s also a win for Cuban, who gets to continue running basketball operations despite selling most of his shares. — Mike Vorkunov, national basketball affairs reporter
Cuban has already ceded some influence in the front office to Nico Harrison
Cuban’s identity has been so closely intertwined with that of the Mavericks since he purchased the team in 2000 that his decision to sell is shocking. But that’s why he achieved something unprecedented: continued control of basketball operations, for which Cubano has long been known.
Since Nico Harrison was hired as general manager in 2021, Cuban has been a less influential figure in front-office matters: still actively involved and aware of what’s happening, but leaving most of those decisions to Harrison, who he brought a much more rigid structure to the team than it had in the past under former general manager Donnie Nelson.
We may not know what Cuba’s unique arrangement means, on a functional level, until more time has passed. Maybe Cuban’s decision to sell is leading to something else, but there’s no doubt the Mavericks are heading into an unknown future. — Tim Cato, Mavericks staff writer
(Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)