Alex Rodriguez’s pact with an e-commerce mogul to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves for $1.5 billion appears to be in jeopardy – and some insiders say his split from Jennifer Lopez is at least partly to blame.
Last year, the former Yankees slugger teamed up to buy the NBA franchise with Marc Lore – the billionaire online retail guru planning to build an eco-friendly metropolis called “Telosa” in the desert south- west.
A-Rod and Lore were meant to be equal partners when they made a $250 million down payment in July 2021 — a cash investment that, coupled with taking on some of the team’s debt , was equivalent to a 20% stake, according to sources close to the situation.
However, A-Rod at the time failed to find his full share, leaving Lore to cover the balance, three sources familiar with the matter said. As a result, Lore now owns a roughly 13% stake in the Timberwolves while A-Rod has only amassed 7%.
“Alex and Marc were supposed to be 50/50,” an NBA source said. “Alex couldn’t find his other half.”
Now, the terms of the deal require A-Rod and Lore to make the next 20% payment by the end of the year, and A-Rod is scrambling to raise his half in addition to the money that he needs for the down payment, the three sources confirmed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if A-Rod became a No. 2 subordinate to Lore,” a source said, predicting that Lore could end up buying more than half and controlling the team.
Lore told the Post without confirming or denying that he has a bigger stake than A-Rod that the two always make all decisions together.
“I couldn’t imagine having a better partner. He’s one of my best friends,” Lore said Monday. “There’s no one else I’d rather partner with than Alex.”
A-Rod first teamed up with Lore on a bid to buy the New York Mets in 2020. At the time, A-Rod was dating Lopez — a situation that seemed to play a role in establishing his ties to Lore, according to sources close to the situation.
“Marc was completely mesmerized by the J. Lo case,” said the source who knows the two investors.
A-Rod frequently called for meetings with potential business partners at the power couple’s lavish homes in Bel-Air and the Hamptons — and Lopez was usually on the scene, according to people familiar with the situation.
“You always took your A-Rod meeting with J.Lo,” the source said. “She walks in and out of the room in workout clothes.”
“A-Rod always gave the impression that they invested as a couple,” the source added.
Lore — who founded Diapers.com and sold his grocery startup Jet.com to Walmart in 2016 for $3.3 billion — and A-Rod ultimately lost the Mets’ bidding process to the billionaire of hedge fund Steve Cohen, who bought the team in 2020 for $2.4. billion.
Rodriguez, 47, began dating Lopez in early 2017 and in 2019 proposed a 16-carat emerald-cut diamond ring worth an estimated $1.8 million. But the two stars split and called off their engagement in the spring of last year – just a month before J.Lo rekindled her romance with Ben Affleck, whom she wed in a lavish wedding ceremony this this month.
It was shortly before the couple called off their engagement that A-Rod and Lore made their bid for the Timberwolves — and A-Rod wasn’t well prepared for the breakup financially, according to sources.
A-Rod alone could be worth $500 million, but few are thought to be liquid, sources said. He owns part of a billion-dollar real estate portfolio in tens of thousands of apartments and homes, including some properties in the Minneapolis area, sources said.
Perhaps the biggest problem, however, is that A-Rod is now missing J.Lo as he seeks to charm co-investors, according to some insiders. Recently, Rodriguez was romantically involved with Kathryn Padgett, a 25-year-old Dallas based fitness competitor.
“Its ability to raise capital has gone from strong to significantly weaker,” said a source familiar with A-Rod. “J.Lo validated it.”
If A-Rod and Lore manage to make their next payment by the end of the year, then they will have the option to purchase another 40% and take control of the team by the end of 2023.
If the pair fall through, insiders say Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor won’t be too disappointed, according to an NBA source. That’s because Taylor believes the team’s value has grown to around $2 billion since they struck the deal, and believes he can earn more by initiating a new sale process.
The Timberwolves did not return the calls.
A-Rod told the Post, “Glen has been a great partner and we’ve learned a lot from him.”
However, it is not clear that A-Rod can collect the price he has locked in. That’s partly because NBA rules won’t allow him to become a homeowner unless he can personally foot the bill for 15% of the total purchase price — nearly $200. million taking into account the debt of the team – without the help of co-investors.
Meanwhile, if Rodriguez fails to amass a 50% stake, he and his co-investors could end up pumping money into the team with no say in team operations.
In such a nightmare scenario, “You will be a minority to the minority,” a source with knowledge of the situation warned.
In July 2021, Lore and A-Rod went on a media tour to promote a new business partnership, VCP Ventures.
“We have a lot of similarities,” A-Rod told Bloomberg TV. “We’re both from New York. We both have two daughters. We are both mission oriented.
But the only investment VCP is advertising is a $1.9 million commitment in June 2021 to internet retailer Thoughtful, which provides ways to note and remember important events and details, based on the site. VCP website.
He made roughly the same amount, $600 million in pretax gains, when he sold online shopping site Jet.com to WalMart, two sources said.
Today, Lore has invested heavily in his food delivery startup Wonder, which in June reportedly raised funds at a $3.5 billion valuation.