Mark Cuban

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Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban 2008.jpg
Born (1958-07-31) July 31, 1958 (age 56)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Alma mater Indiana University (B.S.)
Occupation Owner of Dallas Mavericks
Co-owner of 2929 Entertainment
Chairman of AXS TV
Owner of Landmark Theaters
Net worth Increase US$2.6 billion (June 2014)[1]
Spouse(s) Tiffany Stewart (m. 2002)
Children 2 daughters, 1 son[2]

Mark Cuban (born July 31, 1958)[3] is an American businessman, investor, and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks,[4] Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures, and the chairman of the HDTV cable network AXS TV.[5] He is also a "shark" investor on the television series Shark Tank. In 2011, Cuban wrote an e-book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, in which he chronicles his life experiences in business and sports.

Early life and career[edit]

Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,[6][7] and grew up in the affluent suburb of Mount Lebanon, as part of a Jewish[8] working-class family. His grandfather changed the family name from "Chabenisky" to "Cuban" after his Russian grandparents landed on Ellis Island.[9] He is the son of Norton and Shirley Cuban; Norton was an automobile upholsterer.[10][11][12] Cuban's first step into the business world occurred at age 12, when he sold garbage bags to pay for a pair of expensive basketball shoes.[6][13] While attending Mount Lebanon High School, he held a variety of jobs, including bartender, disco dancing instructor, and party promoter.

Rather than attending high school for his senior year, he enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Pittsburgh where he joined Pi Lambda Phi International fraternity. After one year at the University of Pittsburgh, he transferred to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and graduated from the Kelley School of Business in 1981 with a B.S. in Business Administration.[14] He chose Indiana's Kelley School of Business without even visiting the campus because "it had the least expensive tuition of all the business schools on the top 10 list." During college, he had various business ventures, including a pub, disco lessons, and a chain letter.[6][15]

In 1982, Cuban moved to Dallas, Texas. Cuban first found work as a bartender,[16][17] then as a salesperson for Your Business Software, one of the first PC software retailers in Dallas. He was fired less than a year later, after meeting with a client to procure new business instead of opening the store.[18]

Cuban started a company, MicroSolutions, with support from his previous customers from Your Business Software. MicroSolutions was initially a system integrator and software reseller. The company was an early proponent of technologies such as Carbon Copy, Lotus Notes, and CompuServe.[19] One of the company's largest clients was Perot Systems.[20] In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe—then a subsidiary of H&R Block—for $6 million.[21] He made approximately $2 million after taxes on the deal.[22]

In 1995, Cuban and fellow Indiana University alumnus Todd Wagner started Audionet, combining their mutual interest in Indiana Hoosier college basketball and webcasting. With a single server and an ISDN line,[23] Audionet became Broadcast.com in 1998. By 1999, Broadcast.com had grown to 330 employees and $13.5 million in revenue for the second quarter.[24] In 1999, during the dot com boom, Broadcast.com was acquired by Yahoo! for $5.7 billion in Yahoo! stock.[25]

Business career[edit]

After the sale of Broadcast.com, Cuban diversified his wealth to avoid exposure to a market crash.[26] In 2011, Cuban was No. 459 on Forbes' list of "World's Richest People", with a net worth of $2.3 billion.[27] The Guinness Book of Records credits Cuban with the "largest single e-commerce transaction", after he paid $40 million for his Gulfstream V jet in October 1999.[28]

Cuban continues to work with Wagner in another venture, 2929 Entertainment, which provides vertically integrated production and distribution of films and video.[29]

On September 24, 2003, the firm purchased Landmark Theatres, a chain of 58 arthouse movie theaters.[30] The company is also responsible for the updated version of the TV show Star Search, which was broadcast on CBS.[31] 2929 Entertainment released Bubble, a movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, in theaters and on DVD on the same day in January 2006 as a simultaneous release.

Cuban was featured on the cover of the November 2003 premiere issue of Best magazine[32] announcing the arrival of High Definition Television. Cuban also was co-founder (with Philip Garvin) of AXS TV, the first high-definition satellite television network.[33]

In February 2004, Cuban announced that he would be working with ABC television to produce a reality television series, The Benefactor. The premise of the six-episode series involved 16 contestants trying to win $1 million by participating in various contests, with their performances being judged by Cuban. It premiered on September 13, 2004, but due to poor ratings, the series was canceled before the full season aired.[34]

Cuban financially supported Grokster in the Supreme Court case, MGM v. Grokster.[35] He is also a partner in Synergy Sports Technology, a web based basketball scouting and video delivery tool, used by many NBA teams.

He has also spearheaded ventures in the social software and Distributed Networking industries. He is an owner of IceRocket, a search engine which scours the blogosphere for content.[36] Cuban was also a partner in RedSwoosh[37]—a company which uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver rich media, including video and software to a user's PC, later acquired by Akamai. He was also an investor in Weblogs, Inc. which was acquired by AOL.[38]

In 2005, Cuban invested in Brondell Inc., a San Francisco startup making a high-tech toilet seat called a Swash that works like a bidet but mounts on a standard toilet. "People tend to approach technology the same way, whether it's in front of them, or behind them," Cuban joked.[39] He also invested in Goowy Media Inc., a San Diego internet software startup. In April 2006, Sirius Satellite Radio announced that Cuban would host his own weekly radio talk show, Mark Cuban's Radio Maverick.[40] However, the show has not materialized.

In July 2006, Cuban financed Sharesleuth.com,[41] a website created by former St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigative reporter Christopher Carey to uncover fraud and misinformation in publicly traded companies. Experimenting with a new business model for making online journalism financially viable, Cuban disclosed that he would take positions in the shares of companies mentioned in Sharesleuth.com in advance of publication. Business and legal analysts questioned the appropriateness of shorting a stock prior to making public pronouncements which are likely to result in losses in that stock's value. Cuban insisted that the practice is legal in view of full disclosure.[42][43][44]

In April 2007, Cuban partnered with Mascot Books to publish his first children's book, Let's Go, Mavs!. In November 2011, he wrote a 30,000-word e-book, "How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It", which he described as "a way to get motivated".[45]

In October 2008, Cuban started Bailoutsleuth.com[46] as a grassroots, online portal for oversight over the U.S. government's $700 billion "bailout" of financial institutions.

In September 2010, Cuban provided an undisclosed amount of Venture Capital to store-front analytics company Motionloft. According to the company's CEO Jon Mills, Mills cold-emailed Cuban on a whim with the business proposition in which Mills claims Cuban quickly responded that he would like to hear more. Mills credits that sentence for launching the company.[47] Cuban has gone on record to state that the technology that at least in part is meant to serve the commercial real estate industry is "game changing" for tenants.[48]

Magnolia Pictures[edit]

Cuban owns film distributor Magnolia Pictures. Through Magnolia, he financed the film Redacted, a docudrama based on the Mahmudiyah killings, the March 2006 rape, murder, and burning of 14-year-old Iraqi girl Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and the murder of her parents and younger sister by U.S. soldiers. Two of the soldiers were convicted and three pled guilty, receiving sentences up to 110 years.[49] In September 2007, Cuban, in his capacity as owner of Magnolia Pictures, "redacted" disturbing photographs from the concluding moments of the film, citing copyrights/permissions issues.[50]

Also in 2007, Cuban was reportedly interested in distributing an edition of the film Loose Change, which posits a 9/11 conspiracy theory, through Magnolia, with Charlie Sheen narrating. Cuban told the New York Post, "We are having discussions about distributing the existing video with Charlie's involvement as a narrator, not in making a new feature. We are also looking for productions with an opposing viewpoint. We like controversial subjects, but we are agnostic to which side the controversy comes from."[51]

In April 2011, Cuban put Magnolia Pictures and Landmark Theatres up for sale, but said, "If we don't get the price and premium we want, we are happy to continue to make money from the properties."[52]

Insider trading allegation[edit]

On November 17, 2008, it was reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil suit against Mark Cuban relating to alleged insider trading in the shares of Mamma.com, now known as Copernic.[53] A stock dilution occurred shortly after a trade in June 2004, giving hints of inside knowledge at the time of the trade, and Cuban allegedly was saved from a loss of $750,000.[54] The SEC claims that Cuban ordered the sale of his holdings in Mamma.com after he had been confidentially approached by the company to participate in a transaction likely to dilute shares of current shareholders. Cuban disputed the charges, saying he had not agreed to keep the information secret.[55] On his blog, Cuban contended the facts were false and that the investigation was "a product of gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion".[56] DealBook, a section of The New York Times, reported through an anonymous source that Cuban believed the investigation was motivated by an SEC employee having taken offense to his interest in possibly distributing the film Loose Change.[57]

In July 2009, the U.S. District Court dismissed the charges against Cuban, but the SEC appealed, and in September 2010 an appeals court said that the district court had erred and that further proceedings would be necessary to address the merits of the suit.[58]

A Texas Jury found Cuban not guilty of the charges on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.[59] The nine-member jury issued the verdict after deliberating 3 hours and 35 minutes.

Dallas Mavericks[edit]

Ownership[edit]

On January 4, 2000, Cuban purchased a majority stake in the NBA's Dallas Mavericks for $285 million from H. Ross Perot, Jr.[60][61][62]

In the 20 years before Cuban bought the team, the Mavericks won only 40 percent of their games, and a playoff record of 21–32.[63][64] In the 10 years following, the team won 69 percent of their regular season games and reached the playoffs in each of those seasons except for one. The Mavericks' playoff record with Cuban is 49 wins and 57 losses, including their first trip to the NBA Finals in 2006, where they lost to the Miami Heat.[65]

On June 12, 2011, the Mavericks defeated the Heat to win the NBA Finals. Historically, NBA team owners publicly play more passive roles and watch basketball games from skyboxes; Cuban sits alongside fans while donning team jerseys. Cuban travels in his private airplane—a Gulfstream V—to attend road games.[66]

In May 2010, H. Ross Perot, Jr., who retained 5 percent ownership, filed a lawsuit against Cuban, alleging the franchise was insolvent or in imminent danger of insolvency. In June 2010, Cuban responded in a court filing maintaining Perot is wrongly seeking money to offset some $100 million in losses on the Victory Park real estate development.[67]

NBA policy controversies[edit]

Cuban's ownership has been the source of extensive media attention and controversy involving league policies.[68]

Cuban has been fined by the NBA, mostly for critical statements about the league and referees, at least $1.665 million for 13 incidents.[69] In a June 30, 2006 interview, Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki said about Cuban:[70]

He's got to learn how to control himself as well as the players do. We can't lose our temper all the time on the court or off the court, and I think he's got to learn that, too. He's got to improve in that area and not yell at the officials the whole game. I don't think that helps us ... He sits right there by our bench. I think it's a bit much. But we all told him this before. It's nothing new. The game starts, and he's already yelling at them. So he needs to know how to control himself a little.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Cuban said that he matches NBA fines with charitable donations of equal amounts.[71] In a nationally publicized incident, he criticized the league's manager of officials, Ed T. Rush, saying that he "wouldn't be able to manage a Dairy Queen". Dairy Queen management took offense to Cuban's comments and invited him to manage a Dairy Queen restaurant for a day. Cuban accepted the company's invitation and worked for a day at a Dairy Queen in Coppell, Texas, where fans lined up in the street to get a Blizzard from the owner of the Mavericks.[72]

During the 2005–06 NBA season, Cuban started a booing campaign when former Mavericks player Michael Finley returned to play against the Mavericks as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.[73] In a playoff series between the Mavericks and Spurs, Cuban cursed Spurs forward Bruce Bowen[74] and was fined $200,000 by the NBA for rushing onto the court and criticizing NBA officials.[75] After the 2006 NBA Finals, Cuban was fined $250,000 by the NBA for repeated misconduct following the Mavericks' loss to the Miami Heat in Game Five of the 2006 NBA Finals.

In February 2007, Cuban publicly criticized NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade and declared that he would get fined if he made any comments about what he thought really happened in the 2006 NBA Finals.[76][77]

On January 16, 2009, the league fined Cuban $25,000 for yelling at Denver Nuggets player J. R. Smith at the end of the first half on a Mavericks-at-Nuggets game played on January 13.[78][79] Cuban was apparently incensed that Smith had thrown an elbow that barely missed Mavericks forward Antoine Wright.[80] Cuban offered to match the fine with a donation to a charity of Smith's choosing. Cuban stated that if he doesn't hear from Smith that he will donate the money to the NHL Players' Association Goals and Dreams Fund in the names of Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore.[81] In May 2009, Cuban made a reference to the Denver Nuggets being "thugs" after a loss to the Nuggets in game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The statement was geared towards the Nuggets and their fans. As he passed Kenyon Martin's mother, who was seated near Cuban as he left the arena, he pointed at her and said, "that includes your son". This controversial comment revisited media attention on Cuban yet again. Cuban issued an apology the next day referencing the poor treatment of away fans in arenas around the league. The league issued a statement stating that they would not fine him.[82]

On May 22, 2010, Cuban was fined $100,000 for comments he made during a television interview about trying to sign LeBron James.[83]

Despite his history, he was notably silent during the Mavericks' 2011 championship playoff run.[84]

Despite Cuban's history with David Stern, he believes the NBA Commissioner will leave a lasting legacy on the NBA when Stern retires in 2014. When asked what legacy Stern will leave, Cuban replied, "I think it's one of a focus on growth and recognizing that the NBA is in the entertainment business and that it's a global product, not just a local product. Whatever platforms that took us to, he was ready to go. He wasn't protective at all. He was wide open. I think that was great."[85]

On January 18, 2014, Cuban was once again fined $100,000 for confronting referees and using inappropriate language toward them. As with previous fines, Cuban confirmed that he will match the fine with a donation to charity, however, with a condition that he reaches two million followers on his Twitter account. Cuban also jokingly commented that he could not let Stern leave without a proper farewell.[86]

Other sports businesses[edit]

In 2005, Cuban expressed interest in buying the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins.[87] In 2006, Cuban joined an investment group along with Dan Marino, Kevin Millevoi, Andy Murstein, and Walnut Capital principals Gregg Perelman and Todd Reidbord to attempt to acquire the Penguins.[88] The franchise ultimately rejected the group's bid.

At World Wrestling Entertainment's 2003 Survivor Series, Cuban was involved in a staged altercation with RAW GM Eric Bischoff and RAW Superstar Randy Orton.[89] On December 7, 2009, Cuban acted as the guest host of WWE Raw, where he got revenge on Randy Orton for his attack on him at Survivor Series 2003, where he was the guest referee in his match against Kofi Kingston when he gave Kingston a fast count. He then announced Orton would face Kingston at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. At the end of the show, Cuban was slammed through a table by then No.1 contender for the WWE Championship, Sheamus.[90]

On September 12, 2007, Cuban said that he was in talks with Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment in creating a mixed martial arts company that would compete with Ultimate Fighting Championship.[91] Cuban is now a bondholder of Zuffa, the UFC's parent company.[92]

Cuban followed up his intentions by organizing "HDNet Fights", a mixed martial arts promotion which airs exclusively on HDNet and premiered on October 13, 2007 with a card headlined by a fight between Erik Paulson and Jeff Ford as well as fights featuring veterans Drew Fickett and Justin Eilers.[93]

Since 2009, Cuban has been a panelist at the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.[94]

In April, 2010, Cuban loaned the newly formed United Football League (UFL) $5 million. He did not own a franchise and he was not involved in day-to-day operations of the league nor of any of its teams.[95] In January 2011, he filed a federal lawsuit against the UFL for their failure to repay the loan by the October 6, 2010 deadline.[96]

Major League Baseball[edit]

Cuban has repeatedly expressed interest in owning a Major League Baseball franchise, and has so far unsuccessfully attempted to purchase three franchises. In 2008, he submitted an initial bid of $1.3 billion to buy the Chicago Cubs and was invited to participate in a second round of bidding along with several other potential ownership groups.[97] Cuban was not selected to participate in the final bidding process in January 2009. In August 2010, Cuban actively bid to buy the Texas Rangers. Cuban stopped bids after 1 a.m., having placed bids totaling almost $600 million. He had outbid a competing ownership group led by ex-pitcher and Rangers executive Nolan Ryan, but lost the deal before the Rangers played the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series.

In January 2012, Cuban placed an initial bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but was eliminated before the second round of bidding. Cuban felt that the value of the Dodgers' TV rights deal drove the price of the franchise too high.[98] He had previously said that he would not be interested in buying the franchise at $1 billion,[99] telling the Los Angeles Times in November 2011 "I don’t think the Dodgers franchise is worth twice what the Rangers are worth."[100] However, as the bidding process drew near many speculated that the sale would surpass $1.5 billion, with Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reporting via Twitter that at least one bid in the $1–1.5 billion range was placed in the initial round of the bidding process. Ultimately, the Dodgers sold for $2.15 billion to Guggenheim Baseball Management.[101]

Cuban also previously expressed interest in becoming a minority owner of the New York Mets after owner Fred Wilpon announced in 2011 that he was planning to sell up to a 25 percent stake in the team.[102]

Political activity[edit]

Cuban is an admirer of author and philosopher Ayn Rand.[103] About Rand's novel The Fountainhead, he said, "[It] was incredibly motivating to me. It encouraged me to think as an individual, take risks to reach my goals, and responsibility for my successes and failures. I loved it."[104] His political views lean towards libertarianism.[105] He held a position on the centrist Unity08 political organization's advisory council.[106] While leaning towards libertarianism, Cuban posted an entry on his blog claiming paying more taxes to be the most patriotic thing someone can do.[107]

Cuban has donated $7,000 to political campaigns, $6,000 going to Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. $1,000 went to Democratic California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.[108]

On February 8, 2008, Cuban voiced his support for the draft movement attempting to convince New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to run in the U.S. presidential election of 2008 on his blog. Cuban concluded a post lamenting the current state of U.S. politics: "Are you listening, Mayor Bloomberg? For less than the cost of opening a tent pole movie, you can change the status quo."[109] He eventually voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 election.[110]

In response to Donald Trump offering President Barack Obama $5 million to a charity of President Obama's choosing if he released passport applications and college transcripts to the public, Cuban has offered Trump $1 million to a charity of Trump's choosing if Trump shaves his head.[111]

On December 19, 2012, Cuban donated $250,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation to support their work on patent reform. Part of his donation funded a new title for EFF's staff attorney Julie Samuels: The Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents.[112]

Fallen Patriot Fund[edit]

Cuban started the Fallen Patriot Fund to help families of U.S. military personnel killed or injured during the Iraq War, personally matching the first $1 million in contributions with funds from the Mark Cuban Foundation, which is run by his brother Brian Cuban.[113][114]

The Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan[edit]

On February 9, 2009, Cuban announced what he called the "Mark Cuban Stimulus Plan,"[115] involving what he called "an open source exchange of ideas."[116] His plan entails individuals posting ideas that fit certain criteria (profitability within 90 days, no advertising, certain banking controls for Cuban) in the hopes that either Cuban will fund them, or other individuals will take up the ideas thereby stimulating the economy.[117]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2002, Cuban married Tiffany Stewart in Barbados.[118] Their first daughter, Alexis Sofia, was born in 2005; their second daughter, Alyssa, was born in 2007,[119] and a son, Jake, was born in 2010. The family lives in the Preston Hollow area of Dallas, in a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) mansion.[120]

Film and television credits[edit]

Theatrical and television films[edit]

  • Talking About Sex (1994 film) as Macho Mark
  • Lost at Sea (1995 film) as Villain
  • The Cookout (2004 film) as himself
  • All In (2006 film) as himself
  • Like Mike 2: Streetball (2006 film) as Drop Squad Coach
  • One, Two, Many (2008 film) as Seamus

Television series[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

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