Tag: John Moores

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Report: Hawks close to being sold. Again. Owners deny. Again

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UPDATE June 24, 3:39 am: The Atlanta Spirit, the ownership group for the Hawks, denied the report that a deal is close, according to the Associated Press:

The Atlanta Spirit issued a statement saying “we have spoken with a number of parties, but at this time, there is no deal in place, nor is there an exclusive negotiating agreement in place.”  Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said Thursday the team had no further comment.

Not sure how close they are, but there sure seems to be a lot of smoke for no fire.

June 23, 6:22 pm: A month ago reports surfaced that the Atlanta Hawks were on the verge of  being sold to John Moores (the man in the process of selling the San Diego Padres). That deal fell apart, but in the mean time the Atlanta Spirit (the name of the ownership group) sold off the Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL, a franchise now on its way to Winnipeg.

Apparently the Spirit did not stop trying to sell the Hawks, too, and they are close to a deal again, according to Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated.

One of the sources confirmed that the sale is about to be consummated, but declined to identify the buyer.

The news was expected to come as a surprise to team officials of the Hawks, who were not aware a sale was imminent as they prepared for the NBA draft. SI.com learned of the sale hours before the draft, though the news is not expected to influence the Hawks’ decision-making during the draft.

The buyer may be Moores, the two sides were not exclusively negotiating but may have kept talking, or it could be a different group entirely. Either way, new ownership would likely mean big changes for the Hawks.

Hawks ownership not selling team… for now

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Negotiations between the Atlanta Spirit — the ownership group that owns the Atlanta Hawks — and John Moores to sell the Hawks have ended.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the exclusive negotiating period between the Spirit and Moores (the owner of the San Diego Padres who is in the process of selling that team) has been disbanded.

“We no longer have an exclusivity,” (Spirit partner Michael) Gearon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was ended by mutual agreement after preliminary discussions.”

It is not clear how long Moores’ exclusive period had been in effect. The parties agreed to end the arrangement after the period produced little momentum toward a deal. Ending the exclusivity doesn’t preclude the possibility of subsequent negotiations with Moores about the Hawks, but it reopens the process to other potential bidders.

Atlanta Spirit has been actively seeking investors or buyers for its basketball and hockey teams since 2007.

The Thrashers are close to being sold and moved to Winnipeg. The Spirit are clearly taking their time and looking for a deal that suits them for the Hawks, so don’t look for anything in the near future. Sorry Hawks fans.

Report: Talks underway to sell Atlanta Hawks

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It looks like the Atlanta Spirit — a consortium of owners for the Atlanta Hawks and NHL’s Thrashers — are getting out of the sports ownership business.

The Spirit is in talks to sell the Hawks and Phillips Arena to John Moores, the former San Diego Padres owner, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. These talks parallel the Spirit’s effort to sell the Thrashers to an ownership group out of Winnepeg.

Two people familiar with the situation, both of whom asked not to be identified because of the ongoing talks, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the Spirit and outgoing San Diego Padres owner John Moores are in an exclusive negotiating period regarding the Hawks and the Philips Arena operating rights. Both people said a deal is not close and that it’s far from assured one will get done.

The exclusive negotiating period means the owners agreed not to pursue the sale of the Hawks to any other prospective purchaser for a prescribed period of time. It is not known when Moores’ exclusivity expires.

That sound you just heard was cheers going up from Hawks fans, who see the Spirit group as an impediment to success. This was a consortium of owners with different agendas (some just to cut costs) and that left general managers and others trying to sell and marshal support among various owners for the direction they wanted to go.

This will not end in the team being moved. San Diego does not have anywhere near an NBA-ready arena. The San Diego Arena where the Clippers played was outdated when they moved in the mid-80s. Also, Atlanta is the eighth-largest television market in the nation, San Diego is 28. The league is not looking to shrink right now.

Moores was generally seen as a good owner, according to Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra. He stayed out of the baseball side of operations and largely out of the spotlight. He spent when the Padres had a chance to be good. He got San Diego’s beautiful new PETCO Park built downtown. He’d still own the team if a messy divorce had not forced him to sell. (What is it with messy divorces and MLB owners in Southern California? Taking cues from the governor?)

Forbes estimates the worth of the Hawks to be $295 million, that is without Phillips Arena, which is part of this negotiation. The Spirit recently refinanced $123 million of debt on the arena (and the team is no longer collateral on that debt). The team is estimated to have lost $7.3 million last season.

Bottom line, this may be a long ways off but it is reason to hope. Moores would be an upgrade to the current ownership group. This would be good for the Hawks.