NEW ORLEANS (AP) -New Orleans Hornets team owner George Shinn is considering a Louisiana businessman's offer to buy a one-quarter share of the team.
Gary Chouest of Galliano, La., is the owner of Edison Chouest Offshore, a barge and vessel company supporting the Louisiana offshore oil and gas industry.
Shinn, out of town on vacation, confirmed Friday through a spokesman that negotiations were ongoing but stressed he has no intentions of selling a majority share of the team.
A secretary at Chouest's office said he was out of town and not immediately available for comment.
Shinn has been seeking investors in an attempt to reduce a large debt incurred in January 2005 when he bought out former minority partner Ray Wooldridge.
``We've been in negotiations with local investors for a long time, and while nothing's done yet, we remain optimistic we can reach a deal,'' said Chad Shinn, George Shinn's son and the Hornets' executive officer of the board.
According to recent surveys by Forbes magazine, the Hornets are worth about $248 million, meaning a one-quarter share would cost about $62 million.

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