How much did California tycoon Alex Meruelo pay for the Atlanta Hawks? It's complicated. According to a report by NBA.com's David Aldridge, Meruelo paid about $300 million plus picked up a sizable piece of debt, which according to other reports could be as much as $120 million. That's $420 million, friends.
But according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tim Tucker, which cites sports business consultant Marc Ganis, that $300 million figure "represents the 'enterprise value' that includes Meruelo assuming 'virtually all' of the debt on the team and the arena."
The franchise was valued at $295 million by Forbes, a figure that doesn't include Philips Arena's operating rights, which Meruelo also acquired. If he was basically able to pick up the venue rights for free without that debt number pushing the sale price very far beyond the club's valuation, he might be better at this stuff than we'd realized, even though his share in the Hawks is only about 80 percent for the time being.
Also, the Atlanta Spirit Group wouldn't really be able to earn praises for turning a $100 million profit if an arena and various debts made up part of the sale price. Wonder if they might have broken even.
Of course, reports conflict. There's still the possibility the sale price actually was almost a half-billion. Which, again, remember a modern, profitable arena was involved in the transaction.
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