Nickel(II) complexes with neutral bidentate nitrogen-containing ligands are of great interest as promising precatalysts for the selective oligomerization of ethylene. Complexes of compositions 0.75[LNiCl2]2•0.25[LNiClBr]2 2 and LNiBr2 3 where L = bis-(3,5-dimethylpyrazol-1-yl)methane have been synthesized and characterized by single crystal X-ray diffraction, IR and 1H NMR spectroscopies and elemental analysis. The 1H NMR spectra of paramagnetic complexes indicate that the structures of these complexes in solution are similar to ones in the solid state. Magnetic susceptibility of the compounds has been investigated and discussed in the context of their structures. Treatment of these complexes with diethylaluminum chloride (DEAC) or ethylaluminum sesquichloride (EASC) generates active catalysts that oligomerize ethylene to yield mostly butenes with activities up to 930 kg(oligomers)·mol[Ni]−1·h−1 (DEAC). © 2020 Elsevier B.V.