Executives at Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) have allegedly expressed their interest in NBA ownership and are actively hunting for a possible match.
Mubadala and QIA’s interest is preliminary as representatives of both entities have voiced no official comments. The funds have a respective $450 billion and $284 billion in assets under management.
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However, the news comes amid growing Gulf hunger to diversify global portfolios.
The league’s board of governors voted in December to allow sovereign wealth funds to buy up to 20% of a team, subject to league approval.
“The NBA Board of Governors recently decided to allow direct, passive investments in NBA teams by institutional investors,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement.”
The New York Knicks could be a potential match. The team has signaled openness to sell a minority stake and has a connection to Abu Dhabi through Mubadala’s investment in equity group Silver Lake, which is an investor in Knicks owner Madison Square Garden Sports.
The NBA is also planning multiple preseason games in Abu Dhabi this September.
Last year, Mubadala bought 20% of the media rights of the Brazilian Football League for $971 million and invested $50 million in the Supercross World Championship. Meanwhile, the QIA helped fund the 2022 World Cup and owns French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Last month, a top official said Qatar Investment Authority is searching for opportunities in venture capital, fintech, sports, and sustainability. In an interview in Davos, QIA Chief Executive Officer Mansoor Al Mahmoud said the Gulf state’s wealth fund is considering investments across Europe, Asia, and the US, targeting various industries.