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Atlanta Hawks to hit market next week: report

Philips Arena

All three groups have agreed to sell their Atlanta Hawks ownership stakes, and 100 percent of the NBA franchise will be hitting the market next week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The team is expected to fetch at least $600 million and should easily exceed the $550 million sales price for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014. From the AJC:

The team will be officially on the market next week, according to a league source. The investment banking firm Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports has been retained to handle the sale process. The firm can now begin the process of gathering and vetting prospective buyers.

The Washington-based group, led by controlling owner Bruce Levenson, announced in September that it would sell its 50.1 stake following the discovery of a racially inflammatory email that rocked the franchise. An independent investigation discovered an e-mail Levenson wrote in 2012 that included racist remarks about the fan base and game operations. Levenson’s partners Ed Peskowitz and Todd Foreman are also stakeholders in the original group known as the Atlanta Spirit.

Agreements are also in place for the Atlanta-based group, Michael Gearon Jr. and Sr., Rutherford Seydel and Beau Turner, to sell its combined 32.3 percent of the franchise. In addition, the New York-based group, led by Steven Price, has agreed to sell its 17.6 percent stake.

That the team would be sold was a foregone conclusion; the issue was whether only the Atlanta Spirit group would be selling, or whether all three ownership groups would sell. If the Bucks sale is any indication, there should be a number of groups looking to bid on the team: we’ve seen in recent years that NBA franchises are hot commodities.

The Hawks sold for $189 million in 2004, by the way.

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