MILWAUKEE (AP) — Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam's purchase of Marc Lasry's 25% stake in the Milwaukee Bucks has received approval from the NBA's board of governors.
The approval announced Friday enables the Haslams to join Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan as co-owners of the team. Edens, who purchased the Bucks with Lasry in 2014, will succeed Lasry as the Bucks' governor and will fill that role for the next five years.
"This ownership group has created a championship organization both on and off the court, a standard that is rare in sports, and we highly respect the team they have built," the Haslams said in a statement released by the team. "We have tremendous appreciation for the impressive history of basketball in Milwaukee and the passionate and loyal fan base."
Terms of the deal weren't announced. When the Haslams agreed to purchase Lasry’s stake in the Bucks in late February, reports indicated the deal had valued the team at about $3.5 billion. Lasry's stake represents one-quarter of that figure.
The Haslams, who also own the Columbus Crew of Major Soccer League, have explored buying other professional sports teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves in the past.
The Haslams bought the Browns from Randy Lerner in 2012 for $1.05 billion. Their tenure in Cleveland mostly has been defined by losing records, changes and controversy.
The Browns have made the playoffs once under the Haslams, who have made numerous coaching and front-office overhauls in their pursuit of a Super Bowl title. Last year, they were criticized for acquiring Deshaun Watson in a trade before signing him to a record contract while the quarterback was being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women in Texas.
Lasry and Wesley Edens, both New York investment firm executives, bought the Bucks from former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl for about $550 million in 2014 with pledges to keep the team in Milwaukee. The Bucks' ownership group also includes Dinan and Mike Fascitelli.
The Bucks moved into a new downtown arena in 2018, won their first NBA title in 50 years in 2021 and have built a perennial contender around Greek superstar and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
They posted the NBA's best regular-season record this year to clinch home-court advantage throughout their playoff run. The Bucks have their first playoff game Sunday at home against either the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls.
"The Bucks have a special bond with the people of Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin, and we're looking forward to working closely with Dee and Jimmy to further build upon our team's success, both on and off the court," Edens said in a statement.
The purchase includes the Bucks, Fiserv Forum, the Bucks' training facility, their NBA G League affiliate and their 2K League affiliate. ___