Joseph Tsai. Photo: studioEAST/Getty Images

Joseph Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is nearing a deal to purchase the remainder (51%) of the Brooklyn Nets that he does not already own from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, New York Post reports.

Why it matters: The $2.35 billion purchase will be the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise, surpassing the $2.2 billion each paid by David Tepper for the Carolina Panthers last year and Tilman Fertitta for the Houston Rockets in 2017.

Details: Tsai paid $1 billion to purchase 49% of the Nets last year, while also locking in the right to buy the remaining 51% before the 2021–22 season for an additional $1.35 billion.

Meet Joe:

  • Age: 55
  • Born: Taipei, Taiwan
  • Net worth: $9.9 billion
  • His backstory: At age 13, Joe left home to attend a New Jersey boarding school (Lawrenceville) and later enrolled in Yale, where he played lacrosse. In 1999, he left his investment banking job to become one of Alibaba's 18 co-founders.
  • Sports ownership: In addition to the Nets, Joe also owns the New York Liberty (WNBA) and the San Diego Seals (National Lacrosse League), and he's an investor in the Premier Lacrosse League.

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