Billionaire Joe Tsai is the “mysterious buyer” behind the $ 157 million Manhattan apartment deal


Joe Tsai, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

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Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai is the mysterious buyer behind a $ 157 million apartment deal in Manhattan’s most prestigious condominium tower, according to people familiar with the deal.

Tsai, who also owns the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, bought two condos in 220 Central Park South in two transactions totaling $ 157.5 million, say people close to the deal. The purchase marks what is believed to be the third most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. The most expensive home ever sold in America is in the same building – Ken Griffin’s purchase of four floors (51 to 53) for $ 238 million in 2019.

The 220 Central Park South, Center building stands in New York, United States on Wednesday, January 23, 2019.

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Tsai’s purchase is two stories (the 60th and one above) and offers breathtaking views of Central Park and Midtown Manhattan. The deal also includes a studio apartment on the 18th floor, likely for the staff.

Thanks in part to Griffin’s purchase and blue-chip buyers like Sting and Daniel Och, 220 Central Park South continued to appreciate in value even during the pandemic and is more than 90% sold out. The units Tsai purchased were both sold for more than their original retail price. The 61st floor sold for $ 51.4 million last year while the 60th floor sold for $ 50.9 million.

A spokesman for Tsai did not respond immediately.

The purchase comes at a sensitive time for Tsai and Alibaba. Alibaba shares have fallen a third since October, and Chinese authorities are cracking down on the country’s big tech companies to limit their power and data reach. Tsai’s Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has largely withdrawn from public life after criticizing Chinese regulators and Beijing foiled the IPO of its fintech giant Ant.

Central Park Tower and 220 Central Park South rise above 57th Street in New York City on May 16, 2021.

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Tsai remains Executive Vice Chairman and Alibaba’s second largest shareholder. Tsai, who is worth about $ 10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index.

Tsai was born in Taiwan, attended school in New Jersey, and lived and worked in New York as a lawyer and private equity manager in the mid-1990s. After making his fortune in China at Alibaba, he split his time between San Diego and Hong Kong. He holds both Canadian and Hong Kong passports.

Tsai acquired a minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets in 2017 and acquired the rest of the team and operating rights to the Barclay’s Center in 2019 for a total of more than $ 3 billion. Tsai also sits on the board of directors of NBA China and owns the WNBA’s New York Liberty.

Tsai often attends Nets games and told the New York Post he plans to be more visible in New York after buying the team. “New York is an incredible city. I have an affinity for New York, “he told The Post in 2019.” My first job after graduating from law school was in New York. I met my wife here. So New York is my second for me. “At home.”

Now he is getting an even bigger home for his second home.