Herb Kohl, a former U.S. senator, announced last month he is selling the team he has owned since 1985 to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for $550 million, which includes assumed debt. Now, the sale appears to be in the final stages of being approved by the leagues owners.
Lasry and Edens, who are awaiting final approval of the $550 million sale from NBA owners, met last Friday with several people according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report, including Timothy Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, and Ted Kellner, who sits on the MMAC's arena committee, the sources said.
The pair have been aggressive in getting approval for a new arena to be built or at least have completed plans with land ownership put in place by 2017 before the current lease on the Bucks building expires. After the sale goes through they will have committed $100 million of their purchase to go towards building the new arena at an undetermined location in Milwaukee.
"We don't believe that getting an arena built is anything but an absolute positive outcome for everybody," Edens said. "There's no real energy or value in coming up with alternatives. We are going to build an arena. We are going to be part of the community. The Bucks are going to be a great basketball team. That's our goal and that's what's going to happen."
Lasry and Edens are currently looking for investors to also contribute to building a new arena in or around the downtown area. They are trying to have private investors help build the franchise instead of asking for extra money from the local or state government to keep the team at its current location.
"The value proposition at the end of the day is what will carry the day," Edens said. "It's not about asking for a public handout, or asking for incremental taxes, that's not what people are responsive to. In my judgment, they shouldn't be. It's really about what impact a new arena can have on the community. You keep the Bucks in the community. Revitalize the downtown...It has to be a positive economic result for taxpayers to feel good about getting behind it."
After the meetings over the weekend, Edens and Lasry are expected to keep a low profile until the sale of the franchise takes place. One key date in the near future is the NBA draft on June 26. Edens and Lasry want to be involved in the Bucks' future picks moving forward.