Atlanta Hawks No Longer Up for Sale

by May 24, 2011

According to the AJC, the ownership group in the A has apparently decided to halt the sale of the Hawks. For now, anyway: “The Atlanta Spirit ownership group is on the verge of selling the Thrashers, but it will be holding on to the Hawks at least for a while. The Spirit and outgoing San Diego Padres owner John Moores agreed Friday to terminate Moores’ exclusive negotiating period on a possible purchase of the Hawks, Spirit partner Michael Gearon Jr. confirmed. ‘We no longer have an exclusivity,’ Gearon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ‘It was ended by mutual agreement after preliminary discussions.’ It is not clear how long Moores’ exclusive period had been in effect. The parties agreed to end the arrangement after the period produced little momentum toward a deal. Ending the exclusivity doesn’t preclude the possibility of subsequent negotiations with Moores about the Hawks, but it reopens the process to other potential bidders. Atlanta Spirit has been actively seeking investors or buyers for its basketball and hockey teams since 2007, when it retained investment banker Joseph Ravitch, then of Goldman Sachs and now of The Raine Group. The emphasis has been on the Thrashers because of the hockey team’s heavy financial losses. Attorneys for the Spirit, the NHL and a Canadian group, True North Sports and Entertainment, are in the final stages of negotiations that would result in the relocation of the Thrashers to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Spirit says no qualified buyer — a buyer with the documented financial ability to complete a deal –- has expressed serious interest in buying the Hawks, Thrashers and Philips Arena operating rights as a package. The group bought all three entities from Time Warner in 2004.”