Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has sold shares in the team -- including to the NBA's first Chinese minority owner -- in a deal that will enable Taylor to remain the franchise's controlling owner into the future, sources told ESPN.com.
Taylor announced last year that he planned to sell 30 percent of the team to Steve Kaplan, a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, with the intention of Kaplan becoming the controlling owner in the future. That deal fell apart earlier this year.
Last week Taylor closed a deal to bring in Lizhang Jiang, a Shanghai-based businessman. Jiang, who founded Chinese marketing company Double-Edge Sports, previously worked with the NBA in China. Earlier this month, Jiang, 35, completed the purchase of Spanish soccer club Granada CF. Lanxiong Sports of China reported that Jiang purchased 5 percent of the Wolves and 5 percent of theMinnesota Lynx.
In addition, Taylor has sold a share of the team to Meyer Orbach, a New York-based real estate magnate.
At least twice in the past five years, Taylor has put the Wolves on the market only to later back off and decide to keep the team. This minority-share investment adds stability to Taylor's position. League sources indicate the team is worth about $1 billion.
After Kaplan's planned deal with Taylor fell apart last year, Kaplan and partner Jason Levien bought 60 percent of English Premier League soccer club Swansea City in April and closed on the deal earlier this month.
The Wolves are expected to formally announce the investments this week.
Sources: Lizhang Jiang to be NBA's first Chinese minority owner
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