The Famous Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks is one of professional basketball teams headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia competing in the National Basketball Association (NBA).The Hawks as the team is commonly known forms part of the NBA’s Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference and usually use the Philips Arena to compete in their home games. The team traces its origins in 1946 to Tri-Cities Blackhawks. The Hawks joined the NBA league in 1949.The team in 1951, moved to Milwaukee and effectively renamed itself the Hawks. In 1956, the team once again moved to St.Louis and won their only NBA title in 1958.In 1968, the team moved to Atlanta, which is their present base.

The team came under close media scrutiny in October last year when Bruce Levenson engaged the services of Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to sell his stake in the Hawks as well as the operating rights to Philips Arena. Even though Goldman estimated and convinced Levenson that the team together with arena could fetch $ 1 billion, it was not until April this year that the deal was sealed. Thus, the auction was won by Ares Management LP which is a group led by billionaire Tony Ressler and co-founder of the team, after placing a bid of $730 million.

The amount bid for tended to be more realistic and several smart persons believed that $ 1 billion was not out of reach. For instance, January saw 3 experts tell CNBC that the team would retail for between $900 million and $ 1 billion. In January, Forbes valued Hawks at $ 825 million. And the smartest fellow in the house Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College sports economist put his figure at between $700 million and $ 750 million.

Ressler real estate developer also owns the private investment and equity firm Ares came first of the three finalists at the sale that took place in the Los Angeles Clippers, last spring. Hawks was valued by Forbes at $ 425 million last year; nevertheless, the sales of the Bucks and Clippers changed the market. The value of every franchise has skyrocketed after the NBA landed a lucrative new TV deal.
Ares Management which is the purchasing group is led by Ressler and comprises of Grant Hill former NBA All-Star, Rick Schnall-Clayton Dubilier & Rice partner, Spanx’s owner Sara Blakely together with Jesse Itzler her husband entrepreneur.

Sources privy to the deal claim that the sale was financed by some assumption of debt and cash. Hawks Coach Mike Budenholzer and CEO Steve Koonin are part of future plans of the new ownership group. Levenson definitely made a killing with the sale.
Bruce Levenson is an Arts graduate from Washington University and holds an American University (Washington, DC) law degree. Levenson is also the Partner and Co-founder of United Communications Group (UGC) and owner of the Atlanta Spirit, LLC. Mr. Levenson and Ed Peskowitz founded UCG and still is a key driver of the business strategy of UCG 27 years later, in addition to playing a key role in the acquisition efforts of the firm. Mr. Levenson was a writer for the Observer Publishing and Washington Star before founding UCG.


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