Inside story of how A-Rod's Timberwolves bid fell apart

MONEY & BUSINESS: Inside story of how A-Rod’s Timberwolves bid fell apart

Marc Lore, who several years ago said that owning the Minnesota Timberwolves was a dream come true, largely walked away from his option to buy control of the team leaving it to Alex Rodriguez, sources close to the situation said.

If the deal closed, Lore would have become the owner of the team with his pal and co-investor Rodriguez taking a more secondary role, sources said.

Yet, Lore, who told the NBA he was worth about $4 billion, did not want to invest much of the $520 million needed for him and A-Rod to increase their stake in the team, along with co-investors, from 40 to 80 percent by Wednesday’s deadline.

Majority Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor stunningly announced that the team is no longer for sale after it was expected that A-Rod and Marc Lore would become the new majority owners soon. AP

Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor on Thursday terminated the sale, ending Lore and A-Rod’s chances of buying a majority stake in the team.

Lore was willing to invest a relatively little amount of money, but wanted A-Rod, who had put in a lot less than Lore, to catch up in this new round of financing to a level much closer to what he had invested, sources with direct knowledge of the situation said.

The initial plan was Lore and A-Rod would invest roughly equally in the team.

That meant A-Rod needed to raise most of the money for this next investment round and he tried to for months.

A-Rod did not use an investment banker in recent months which could have helped, sources said.

He and Lore agreed to buy the Timberwolves in a three-step process in 2021 at a $1.5 billion valuation. They together have bought 40 percent of the team in two stages.

A-Rod, who is believed to be worth much less than Lore, needed to find the money for this next payment largely by himself, sources with direct knowledge of the situation said.

A-Rod was trying to sell interests in the new round of financing not at his $1.5 billion valuation but at a valuation of more than $2 billion, sources with close knowledge of the situation said.

The team in three years had gone up in value, based on other NBA sales, to roughly $3 billion.

A-Rod would have pocketed the difference between his buy-in price of $1.5 billion and the valuation at which he sold the stakes, sources close to the situation said.

A-Rod may be striking out again in his attempt to own a professional sports team. Anthony J. Causi

Perhaps, he would have had an easier time had he lowered his expectations.

Not many parties wanted to play second fiddle to the Lore and A-Rod ownership group.

“Alex has gone through everyone,” a source who spoke recently to A-Rod and considered investing in the team said.

A-Rod’s ace in the hole was private equity firm The Carlyle Group.

But, it took months for the NBA to approve Carlyle and ultimately it rejected Carlyle in the last few days, sources said.

Still, A-Rod without Carlyle had a back-up plan and raised the money but the whole process was delayed.

A-Rod and Lore maintain they met the deadline but Taylor disagrees and it will now be up to a mediator to decide.

What is clear is even if Lore and A-Rod had the money, they were waiting on NBA approval, which was not expected until an April Board of Governors meeting, sources said.

The deadline to complete the deal was March 27, and the question is whether the NBA extended the date, or even had the legal standing to do so.

Marc Lore is transforming Wonder which was a very upscale food delivery business to brick and mortar and ghost kitchens. Matthew McDermott

A-Rod may have been surprised by Taylor’s announcement that he was not extending the deadline, a source who has dealt with the owner said: “I bet A-Rod found out this morning when he read the press release. That’s Glen’s style.”

In fact, Taylor saw Lore and A-Rod a few days ago and implied that everything was in order, a source said.

Former Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale in 2020 sued Taylor, who has a history of conflicts with past partners, for allegedly sabotaging a medical company he owned.

Taylor likes running the team and has made that clear in recent months to Lore and A-Rod whom he thought were too involved, a source said.

One source told The Post that Taylor got “cold feet” about the sale in recent months as the Timberwolves have rocketed into contention for an NBA championship and Anthony Edwards has blossomed into a superstar.

This assertion was ostensibly confirmed in a statement from Taylor to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, which said, “I just think [we] built this team. We’ve got the players now. And it appears to me that we should have a very positive run for a number of years, and I want to be a part of that.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has not had any comment yet on Glen Taylor’s decision. AP

After Taylor and the Timberwolves organization issued its initial statement saying that Rodriguez and Lore missed a March 27 financial deadline and that the team was “no longer for sale,” the pair issued a scathing statement of its own, accusing Taylor of “seller’s remorse.”

“We have fulfilled our obligations, have all necessary funding and are fully committed to closing our purchase of the team as soon as the NBA completes its approval process,” Rodriguez and Lore’s statement said.

“Glen Taylor’s statement is an unfortunate case of seller’s remorse that is short sighted and disruptive to the team and the fans during a historic winning season.”

It now appears a mediator will decide what happens next.

Alex Rodriguez was largely on his own to raise $520 million by the end of March. Getty Images

The Timberwolves entered Thursday at 50-22, a half-game behind the defending champion Nuggets for the top seed in the Western Conference.

Terminating the deal would be great financially for Taylor.

Taylor should have little problem finding someone else to buy the 40 percent of the team and perhaps for as much as the $3 billion valuation, double what Lore and A-Rod agreed to pay, if he decides later to resell the stake, sources said.

Right now Lore is laser-focused on keeping his gourmet food delivery-company Wonder.

He has in recent months invested several hundred million in the money-losing start-up and just completed a $700 million round of financing, sources said.

Marc Lore (eating popcorn) is no longer the money-man behind A-Rod’s Timberwolves bid. AP

The New York Times this month published a feature on Lore and his plans to make Wonder a $30 billion market cap company.

Wonder, as The Post reported exclusively, offered deep discounts to investors who bought convertible shares in the round valuing the company at $3.5 billion — the same valuation Wonder fetched when it last raised money in June 2022.

Lore owns more than half of the company, and it represents much of his net worth.

Under terms of the new offer, investors who bought the securities now will be granted the option of converting them into stock at a 50 percent discount to the company’s valuation during its next fund-raising round making this a down round.

Lore, who founded and famously sold his grocery start-up to Walmart in 2016 for $3.3 billion, told Fox Business last month he now spends 100 hours a week on Wonder.

He still attended many Timberwolves games but left the fund-raising largely to A-Rod.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the best players in the NBA with Anthony Edwards Getty

If Lore were to sell the stake he already bought in the team, estimated at 27 percent, he could double his money and use that to also help Wonder, or replenish his coffers.

Lore and A-Rod in 2020 also got close and failed to buy the Mets.

They lost to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen, who bought the team for $2.4 billion.

The Mets banker, in an unusual move in that auction, asked A-Rod for a sneak peek at their final offer. A-Rod showed the Mets.

Then Cohen reached a deal for just over that amount leading A-Rod to believe the process was rigged, The Post reported at the time.

For now, this seems like another tough loss.

Part of Lore’s attraction to A-Rod at the time was A-Rod’s then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, The Post previously reported.

“Marc got completely mesmerized by the J-Lo thing,” a source who knows both investors said.

A-Rod frequently called for meetings with prospective business partners at the power couple’s lavish homes in Bel-Air and the Hamptons — and Lopez was typically on the premises, according to sources close to the situation.

“You always took your A-Rod meeting with J-Lo,” the source said. “She is coming in and out of the room with workout clothes.”

It was shortly before the pair called off their engagement that A-Rod and Lore launched their bid for the Timberwolves — and A-Rod wasn’t well prepared for the breakup from a financial standpoint, according to sources.

On Sept. 27, 2021, Lore said on X when posting a picture of himself with T-Wolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, “If only I could tell my 15-year-old self this story. Dreams do come true! Humbled to be a part of this team with A-Rod.”

A Lore spokesman declined comment.

An A-Rod spokesman did not return calls.

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