LOS ANGELES - Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl said Wednesday he's selling the NBA team to an ownership group eager to keep the club in Milwaukee.
Kohl, a former US Senator, said he had agreed to sell the club to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry.
Edens and Lasry will pay some $550 million (398 million euros) for the club. Kohl bought the team for $18 million in 1985, and it was valued at $405 million in January by Forbes -- last among the league's 30 clubs in the financial magazine's rankings.
The Bucks have struggled on the court this season, and will finish the 2013-14 campaign on Wednesday with the worst record in the league.
But at least their new owners won't be taking them to a more lucrative market, since Kohl was insistent that he wanted them to stay in Milwaukee.
The new owners have committed to contribute at least an additional $100 million towards the development of a new arena in the city.
"My priority has always been and will continue to be keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee," said Kohl, who reportedly will retain an ownership stake.
"This announcement reinforces that Milwaukee is and will continue to be the home of the Bucks. Wes and Marc agree, and they share my commitment to the long-term success of this franchise in Milwaukee."
Edens and Lasry said in a statement they were "very excited" at the prospect of building the franchise.
"We are lifelong basketball fans who are committed to the success of the Bucks and the identity of the team as a part of the city of Milwaukee," the new owners said. "It is our vision for this franchise to be admired both locally and nationally for its success on the court, the quality of its organization and the loyalty of its fan base."
The sale can be finalized once it is approved by the NBA Board of Governors.
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