Atlanta Hawks Sale Off, ASG Publicly Committed To Not Selling Team

The Hawks and Philips Arena were sold to California businessman Alex Meruelo, but the NBA has yet to approve, and concerns about Meruelo's finances arose. Now the deal is off.

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Atlanta Hawks Sale: Alex Meruelo Deal Terminated, According To Report

Days after Marc Stein reported the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to California businessman was in serious jeopardy, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting the deal is in fact off. The AJC cites a mutual agreement between Meruelo and the Atlanta Spirit Group, which means ASG will retain control of the franchise moving forward.

Approval of the sale by the NBA had dragged on for quite some time, even as the sale of the 76ers was approved. Meruelo's finances came into question shortly after the sale was announced and again once concerns started to be raised.

For Hawks fans, this means at least one more year of ASG ownership, which is not a good thing, but almost certainly won't lead to the NBA taking control of the Hawks or the team relocating

Neither the team nor Meruelo has made the news official yet.

We'll miss you, fellow fan of dessert.

For more on the Hawks, head to Hawks blog Peachtree Hoops.

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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 Announce Sale To Alex Meruelo In Statement

And there you have it. Consider the deal official, now that the Atlanta Hawks have sent out the following statement, dated August 8, on the reported deal to sell the team to Alex Meruelo. It hits all the right notes and officially makes the Hawks the NBA's current most-interesting team for perhaps the first time since ... ...

...

... Here's the statement:

The Meruelo Group, led by founder Alex Meruelo, and Atlanta Spirit LLC have reached an agreement on the sale of a majority ownership stake in the National Basketball Association's Atlanta Hawks and the Philips Arena operating rights, it was announced today. Completion of the sale is subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors and terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"I am a lifelong basketball fan, a student of the NBA game, and this is a dream come true for me," stated Alex Meruelo, founder and chief executive officer of the Meruelo Group. "I am committed to winning and look forward to engaging with our wonderful fans, our dedicated season ticket holders, our committed corporate partners and this passionate community. I believe that both the Hawks and Philips Arena have unlimited potential for the future. I am honored to be a part of that future" 

With roots dating to 1986, the Meruelo Group is a diversified holding and management company owned and controlled by prominent U.S. Hispanic business executive Alex Meruelo. The Meruelo Group has diverse holdings in banking and financial services, restaurants and food services, construction and engineering, real estate, hotel/casino operations and private equity. For more information please visit www.meruelogroup.com.

The Atlanta Hawks will remain a long-term tenant of Philips Arena and Alex Meruelo will serve as the Hawks' Governor to the NBA.

For more Hawks, head to Peachtree Hoops.

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New Hawks Owner Alex Meruelo: 'I Want To Bring A Championship To Atlanta'

Well, that was quick. Moments after the Associated Press reported California's Alex Meruelo as the new owner of the Atlanta Hawksthe Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mark Bradley dropped a conversation with the man himself. 

In it we learn Meruelo is a former high school basketball player who worked his way up through the business world, starting by leasing a tuxedo rental shop. Take a look around the web and you'll see he followed that opportunity by opening a chain of Latin pizzeriaspicking up real estate and getting into media

And look at that portfolio-- this guy has been successful at quite an array of ventures.

He tells Bradley he's a sports fan, but primarily a hoops guy, and "1,000 percent a fan of the Atlanta Hawks." As Bradley points out, the way Meruelo talks about his goals for a pro sports team in Atlanta certainly call to mind Arthur Blank more than they do Liberty Media or the Atlanta Spirit Group. Can't help but like to hear that.

He says he will be "in complete control of the team," with the ultimate goal of bringing a title to Atlanta.

The deal isn't official until the NBA approves, but so far you have to like what you're hearing.

For more Hawks, head to Peachtree Hoops.

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Atlanta Hawks To Be Sold To Alex Meruelo, California Pizza Tycoon, According To Report

According to an Associated Press report, a "controlling interest" in the Atlanta Hawks and Phillips Arena will be sold to Alex Meruelo, founder and owner of California pizza chain La Pizza Loco. That is some crazy pizza! The deal will be announced Monday, according to the AP. 

The Hawks have reportedly been very close to a sale since shortly after the Atlanta Spirit Group unloaded the Atlanta Thrashers, and were believed to be in talks to sell the team even before unloading their hockey venture. 

I know absolutely nothing about Alex Meruelo, but would heartily welcome pretty much anybody over the ownership of Michael Gearon and company.

And no, the Hawks aren't moving to California. They're set to remain in Atlanta for a long time. Coupling the team with the arena helps ensure profitability, as the venue is one of the best in the country at attracting top concerts.

For complete coverage of the Hawks, please visit Peachtree Hoops.

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Potential Atlanta Hawks Majority Owner 'Moving Fast' Through Process

At least one bidder is interested in purchasing the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights from the Atlanta Spirit Group, according to Chris Vivlamore and Tim Tucker of the Atlant Journal Constitution. Sources the paper consulted, who could not reveal the prospective buyer's name due to "confidentiality agreements," say the person who may buy the Hawks is examining financial records, and one source said the buyer is "moving fast."

Atlanta Spirit sold the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers last month; the Thrashers' buyers then moved the team to Winnipeg. Fortunately, the Hawks are unlikely to meet the same fate, as the NBA would not approve of one of its clubs leaving Atlanta. Plus, moving the Hawks comes with an additional $195 million in fees, the Journal Constitution says, for Philips Arena bonds and penalties for leaving Atlanta and Fulton County.

According to the Journal Constitution, the buyer is seeking majority control of the Hawks franchise, and that "current ownership would retain a significant minority share."

For complete coverage of the Hawks, please visit Peachtree Hoops.

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