Magic Johnson says selling stakes in Lakers, Starbucks made good business sense
Magic Johnson, who created a buzz this week by selling his minority stakes in the Lakers and Starbucks, said he did those deals because they were good business decisions.
Johnson said Wednesday he will “look at every opportunity” in the future to become a majority owner of a sports team, but that he hasn’t joined forces with anybody yet. However, Johnson said he wants to play a role in bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles.
As for the NBA, Johnson said he has not talked with his hometown Detroit Pistons, although the club is for sale. Mike Ilitch, who owns the Tigers and Red Wings, is negotiating to buy the Pistons and has reached out to Johnson, the former Lakers star said.
Johnson also said he recently sat down with the group that has reached a deal to buy the Golden State Warriors, but “nothing came out of it,” Johnson said.
And Johnson said he hasn’t had any discussion with the Dodgers, saying, “No, I won’t be buying the Dodgers.”
“I talked with Golden State. I will talk with [Ilitch about] Detroit,” Johnson said. “Just because you talk, that doesn’t mean you are going to do a deal. But I’ll be looking at every opportunity because I’m a businessman and that’s what I do. I look at deals every day.”
When asked whether he had interest in buying an NFL team, Johnson laughed. He was a season-ticket holder when the Rams and Raiders played in Los Angeles.
“I haven’t had any discussions about the NFL,” Johnson said. “But I really, really want the NFL to come back to LA. Would I be interested? Of course I will be interested. Have I talked to anybody? No. But I would do that in two seconds.”
Johnson sold his 4.5% interest in the Lakers on Monday because “I got the price I wanted” from billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, and because Lakers owner Jerry Buss, whom Johnson repeatedly thanked, “signed off” on the deal.
Various publications pegged the Lakers’ worth at about $600 million, and Johnson’s stake had an estimated value of $27 million, or higher, before his sale.
Johnson also said he was grateful to Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz for the business opportunities. He sold 105 coffeehouse franchises back to the company for a reported $75 million. Johnson would not disclose the financial terms of the two deals.
Johnson will keep his position as Lakers vice president and will continue to work with General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
“Look, I’m not going anywhere,” said Johnson, who purchased a luxury suite at Staples Center. “Nothing has changed. I just don’t own the team anymore. This was a great move, both of them.”
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