NBA team sold to group including ex-cabler
NEW YORK — Storied NBA franchise the Boston Celtics has been sold for a reported $360 million to a group of private investors that includes ex-cable TV magnate H. Irving Grousbeck.
Boston Celtics LP, the publicly traded partnership that controls 48% of the team’s equity, and private investment group Castle Creek Partners, which holds 52%, sold the team to the newly formed Boston Basketball Partners LP.
Castle Creek is controlled by Celtics chairman Paul Gaston. His father, Donald F. Gaston, paid a reported $18 million for the team in 1983.
Boston Basketball partner Grousbeck was co-founder of Continental Cablevision, which was renamed MediaOne and eventually sold to AT&T Broadband in 1999. His son, Highland Capital Partners general partner Wycliffe Grousbeck, and Bain Capital managing director Stephen Pagiluca are the group’s other two principals.
“The NBA has enjoyed tremendous growth and success by developing terrific young talent, and the Celtics are a great example of this philosophy in action,” Pagiluca said.
The Celtics have won 16 NBA championships, but last took the title home more than 15 years ago. Team made the playoffs for the first time in seven years last season, falling to the New Jersey Nets after making it to the Eastern Conference title series on the strength of young stars like Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the sale would have any effect on the Celtics’ broadcast licensing deals. According to regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Boston Celtics LP earned about half of its revenues for fiscal 2001 — more than $38 million — from television, cable and radio pacts.
Deal still requires approval from 22 of the NBA’s 29 team owners. Boston Celtics LP shares were halted during Friday’s trading — they last traded at $11.35, up 7% on the day.