According to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, all three ownership groups of the Atlanta Hawks have agreed to put the team up for sale next week. This comes after months of turmoil caused by a racist email from majority owner Bruce Levenson coming to the surface.
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. Estimations are the franchise could be sold for upwards of $600 million dollars.
I would like to tell you there's a strong chance of the team being purchased by Chris Hansen and moved to Seattle, but I don't think that's likely to happen. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed is already courting suitors who would keep the team where it is.
The Hawks are unlikely to be sold and moved, as the Atlanta Spirit did with the NHL's Thrashers in 2011. Reed said the city is committed to keeping the Hawks in Atlanta. In addition, the NBA would not want to lose a franchise in a Top-10 market.
Several people have expressed interest in being part of an ownership group soon after the controversy came to light. Former NBA players Dikembe Mutombo and Chris Webber and New York entertainment lawyer Doug Davis are known to have interest. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed has said numerous parties have expressed interest.
There is also the matter of $124 million in arena debt that would be inherited by the successful bidder. There is also a $75 million fee if said debt is paid off early, making relocation before 2017 nearly a $200 million endeavor.
The Hawks currently reside atop the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference with a 23-8 record.
Not so fast on the 100%.
Just spoke with #Atlanta Hawks owner Rutherford Seydel, who says reports of the team being 100% for sale are not accurate #11Alive— Matt Pearl (@MattPearl11) January 2, 2015
Hawks owner Seydel: "The Atlanta group is excited about new leadership that enhances our value & takes us to the next level."— Matt Pearl (@MattPearl11) January 2, 2015
Hawks owner Rutherford Seydel: "We support a change in ownership; however, we would like to be a part of that." #11Alive— Matt Pearl (@MattPearl11) January 2, 2015
Seydel holds a minority stake in the team.
Meanwhile in Milwaukee
A Bizjournals.com report says that the owners of the Bucks are targeting the end of January to announce the site of their proposed arena, possibly with a financing proposal at the same time or shortly thereafter.