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Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl agrees to sell team

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - After 29 years of owning the Milwaukee Bucks, Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he's selling Wisconsin's pro basketball franchise to a pair of New York hedge fund billionaires.  

During a news conference at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Kohl stood next to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry -- who will pay $550 million for an NBA franchise that Kohl bought for $18 million back in 1985.  

Also, Edens and Lasry promised to put up $100 million for the creation of a new arena. Kohl called it, "a major step forward in my goal in keeping the Bucks here."  

Kohl, a former U.S. senator for 24 years, has also pledged money toward a new stadium. He said Wednesday it would be $100 million as well.

The NBA Board of Governors meets Thursday and Friday in New York, but there was no immediate word as to whether the Bucks' sale would be on the agenda.  

Kohl's announcement was made about five hours before the Bucks were to close out their worst season in team history, by hosting the Detroit Pistons. Milwaukee is 15-66, one of just three NBA teams not to win back-to-back games during the course of an entire season.  

Kohl -- the owner of a grocery chain back in the '80's -- purchased the Bucks to keep them from moving to Minnesota, which did not yet have an NBA team after the Lakers left Minneapolis for Los Angeles.  

During Kohl's watch, the Bucks had their high-water mark in 2001, when they came within one victory of making the NBA Finals.

Lasry is one of the richest Americans, ranking 352nd on Forbes' list of the 400 wealthiest with a net worth of $1.5 billion.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)