Atlanta Hawks Sale Jeopardized By Alex Meruelo's Finances, According To Report

The potential sale of the Atlanta Hawks to Alex Meruelo is now in jeopardy due to finances coming into question.

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Atlanta Hawks Sale Update: Alex Meruelo's Finances Reportedly Now In Question

When Los Angeles business Alex Meruelo had reached an agreement to purchase the Atlanta Hawks franchise and become the majority owner, fans of the Hawks envisioned the franchise turning around in a similar fashion of a Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones or even hometown hero Arthur Blank.

Unfortunately for Meruelo, who was set to be the first Latino owner in the NBA, the question has arisen if Meruelo indeed has the sufficient funds to purchase a majority stake in the Atlanta Hawks, according to a report by ESPN's Marc Stein. The NBA declined comment when asked about Meruelo and the Hawks' situation on Wednesday.

Meruelo released a statement on Wednesday stating the following:

"I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first-class manner. I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. While I can't comment on the details of the approval process, I have and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion."

 It was initially thought that the sale of the Hawks was slowed due to the ongoing labor negotiations between the players and the owners. However, issues with Meruelo's deal was mentioned Tuesday as the Board of Governors gathered in New York City to speak on revenue-sharing options.

While it was mentioned that the Hawks' sale had stalled, it did not prevent the league from announcing the approval of the sale of the Philadelphia 76ers from from Comcast-Spectacor to be purchased by Joshua Harris, a private-equity billionaire.

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Atlanta Hawks Sale Yet To Be Approved By NBA

Since the announcement of the Atlanta Hawks' sale from the Atlanta Spirit Group to Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo, the NBA's Board of Governors has officially approved a just-completed sale of the Philadelphia 76ers, yet the Hawks' future has seemed to have stalled.

Neither the Spirit Group nor Meruelo is speaking about what's held up the approval process, but using the Spirit Group's initial acquisition of the Hawks and defunct Atlanta Thrashers from Time Warner seven years ago as an example, the AJC speculates that it's an issue of money:

While Meruelo and Atlanta Spirit decline to comment on the sale approval process, citing NBA rules, the Spirit’s 2004 purchase of the Hawks and Thrashers from Time Warner provides a case study of the complications than can ensnare such deals, particularly when money-losing franchises are involved.

As a condition of approval in 2004, the NBA and NHL required several Spirit partners to put up tens of millions of dollars in personal financial guarantees to ensure liquidity to guard against potential future team losses. The buyers eventually satisfied the requirement, but doing so forced a complex reworking of the deal.

Because of the still-pending sale, the Hawks are being officially represented by the Spirit Group at all league meetings pertaining to the Lockout.

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