New Orleans Hornets majority owner George Shinn has reached a deal to sell his shares of the team to minority owner Gary Chouest, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The club is planning to formally introduce Chouest as early as Thursday, the person told the Associated Press on Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made. The person said the club hoped to introduce Chouest on Wednesday but had to delay it because of scheduling matters unrelated to the sale.
A call to Chouest was not immediately returned.
Chouest is a Louisiana native and owner of Edison Chouest Offshore, a company that builds and operates marine vessels for the offshore oil and gas industries.
In 2007, when the team returned from a two-year stay in Oklahoma City because of Hurricane Katrina, Chouest bought 25 percent of the club for $62 million, saying at the time his goal was to keep the Hornets in Louisiana.
Shinn, who was treated for prostate cancer in recent months, decided to sell his remaining shares during the season.
His goal all along was to sell to Chouest, but nearly two weeks ago, Shinn became frustrated with the pace of negotiations and started looking for other potential buyers.
Chouest remained the leading candidate to buy the club, however, and a deal was finally reached for an undisclosed amount.
In its regular survey of professional franchise values, Forbes magazine estimated last December that the Hornets were worth $285 million.
However, the magazine also listed the Charlotte Bobcats at $284 million, a higher figure than the $275 million Michael Jordan recently paid for the club.
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