*A deal to sell the Philadelphia 76ers to a group that includes Hollywood superstar Will Smith has been completed, reports ESPN.
The new ownership team is headlined by New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris, David Blitzer and former NBA agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien. Smith, one of the city’s favorite sons, has invested as a minority shareholder.
The sale ends Comcast-Spectacor’s 15-year run of ownership.
Named by Newsweek in April 2007 as the most powerful actor in Hollywood, Smith joins the Sixers in a capacity akin to music mogul Jay-Z’s role with the New Jersey Nets. And Levien is believed to be the first former agent to be part of an NBA ownership group since Lewis Schaffel served as the original managing partner of the Miami Heat.
Sources say that the Indonesian media magnate Erick Thohir is also joining the Sixers as the first Asian investor in an NBA team.
Comcast-Spectacor, led by chairman Ed Snider, purchased the Sixers from Harold Katz on April 24, 1996. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers will become a tenant in the building once the NBA lockout is over.
The 76ers were valued this year by Forbes at $330 million, 17th in the NBA, and have a television deal with cable station Comcast SportsNet through 2029.