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League approves sale of Milwaukee Bucks

(Reuters) - The National Basketball Association (NBA)'s board of governors has unanimously approved the $550 million sale of the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge fund managers Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, the league announced on Thursday.

Lasry and Edens bought the Bucks last month from businessman and former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, becoming the latest Wall Street financiers to own a sports club.

"We are pleased that Wes Edens and Marc Lasry have been approved as the new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

"The Bucks and their fans will benefit greatly from their vast business experience, energy and strong commitment to Milwaukee."

The transaction is expected to close shortly, the NBA said.

Kohl, a Wisconsin native, bought the team 29 years ago, and had said he was committed to keeping it in his home state.

"I would like to thank Senator Kohl again for his unprecedented and historic financial gift toward the construction of a new Milwaukee arena and for his outstanding service to the league and his community over his nearly 30-year tenure," Silver said.

At a news conference in Milwaukee last month, Kohl said Lasry and Edens, who are lifelong basketball fans, won the bid in part because of their commitment to keep the team in Wisconsin.

Lasry runs Avenue Capital together with his sister, Sonia Gardner, and Edens co-founded Fortress Investment Group.

The two men, whose firms are headquartered in New York, emerged as potential buyers only recently and beat out a group led by Seattle-based former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer.

(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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