Gabe Plotkin’s hedge fund Melvin Capital was one of two firms on the wrong side of GameStop’s meteoric stock rise in 2021. It cost investors billions.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Hornets announced Friday that NBA legend Michael Jordan is selling his majority ownership stake of the franchise, ending his 13-year run as the organization’s primary shareholder.
The new group is led by current Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall. It also includes several Charlotte-based investors, as well as recording artists J. Cole and Eric Church.
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Jordan will remain with the organization as a minority owner and will oversee basketball operations through the NBA Draft and free agency next month. It’s unknown how much Jordan agreed to sell his stake for, but it’s been reported that he paid $275 million for majority ownership in 2010.
Who are the new owners of the Charlotte Hornets?
Plotkin was the founder and chief investment officer of Melvin Capital. He purchased a minority stake in the Hornets from Jordan in 2019. Plotkin announced in May 2022 that Melvin Capital would close.
Melvin was one of two major hedge funds that came out on the wrong side of Gamestop’s meteoric stock rise in 2021. Fortune reported that a group of retail investors instituted a short squeeze on Melvin’s bet against GameStop, pushing the hedge fund into a huge loss. The roller-coaster was fueled mostly by individual investors on the Robinhood app on Reddit.
Schnall has been a minority owner of the Atlanta Hawks since 2015 as part of the group led by current owner Tony Ressler. As part of the agreement to buy the Hornets, Schnall has begun the process of selling his stake in the Hawks.
Schnall is the co-president of the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. He’s worked for the New York-based firm for over 25 years and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.
The North Carolina rapper has been a fixture in NBA circles for years. He even performed at the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, rocking a sweet throwback Hornets jacket. In 2020, Cole announced that he planned to play professional basketball and signed a contract with the Rwanda-based Patriots Basketball Club in the Basketball Africa League. He left the team after playing three games.
Cole was named a cover athlete for the NBA 2K23 game on the “Dreamer Edition.” He was featured in the game as a character in the “MyCareer” mode. His music was also featured on the game’s soundtrack.
Church grew up in Caldwell County and graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in marketing. Church has topped the charts several times over his career and earned numerous awards.
He was criticized by fans in March 2022 when he abruptly canceled a show in San Antonio, Texas, to watch the North Carolina Tar Heels play Duke in the Final Four.
Other minority owners of the Hornets include Chris Shumway, Dan Sundheim, Ian Loring, Amy Levine Dawson and Damian Mills.
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