The Atlanta Hawks is an NBA team in transition. Recently, the Atlanta Hawks’ ownership is changing due to a 850 million dollar deal. The new owners are an investment group that includes mega successful business figures such as billionaire Tony Ressler, co-founder of Ares Management, Clayton Dubilier and Rice partner Rick Schnall, former NBA player Grant Hill, entrepreneur Jesse Itzler and Itzler’s wife, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. The Hawks engaged the investment firm of Goldman Sachs to assist this this multimillion dollar transaction.
The agreement includes operating control of Philips Arena. The sale will be financed in cash and by taking over some of previous debt. Last year the Atlanta Hawks were valued at approximately 425 million dollars and lost money the previous season; however, basketball franchises are now seeing an upward trend, and with their recent record of wins the Hawks should be no exception.
The ownership is being transferred from Bruce Levenson, who has been the Atlanta Hawks’ governor and co-owner since 2004. Born in Washington D.C., Levinson grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University and a law degree from American University in Washington D.C. A man of many talents, he has written for The Washington Star and Observer Publishing. In addition to being a co-founder of United Communications Group, a group of business communication companies, Levenson has been involved in many philanthropic endeavors which includes serving as President of the “I Have a Dream Foundation” in Washington, D.C. Levenson is a member of Atlanta Spirit LLC, a successful business concern. Since 2015, Levinson has been a Director Member of Compensation Committee and Member of Nominating and Governance Committee at Tech Target, Inc. Levenson was a major player in the agreement to sell The Atlanta Hawks and is happy for the team and hopes for their continued success.
The Hawks hold a franchise record of 60 games and are going strong in the east despite a lower seat attendance this season. Mayor Kasim Reed wants the Atlanta Hawks to stay in their home town for another 30 years.
The new owners are seeing this valuable acquisition as not only an investment in the team as they are now but the possibilities of what The Atlanta Hawks can become. Attractive local and network television deals are in the works to increase ticket sales and boost finances for the franchise.
The Atlanta Hawks’ Coach Mike Budenholzer is credited for the team’s stunning last season’s record performance and Budenholzer was named NBA Coach of the Year for 2014-2015.
The Atlanta Hawks are clearly a team to watch, be if for their superb moves on the court or the fascinating business moves behind the scenes.