Deal to sell NBA’s Atlanta Hawks falls apart


Deal to sell NBA’s Atlanta Hawks falls apart


Reuters US Online Report Sports News

Nov 04, 2011 19:26 EDT

(Reuters) – A deal to sell the Atlanta Hawks to a California businessman has fallen through and the National Basketball Association (NBA) team said on Friday it was no longer for sale.

The Hawks said in a short statement that a deal to sell the team to Alex Meruelo, a Cuban-American who made a fortune with the La Pizza Loca fast food chain in southern California, was mutually called off by both parties.

“The Atlanta Hawks are no longer for sale,” Hawks owner Bruce Levenson said in a statement. “We’re excited to remain as owners of the Hawks and are committed to building on our string of four straight playoff appearances.”

The team also said that due to a confidentiality clause in the agreement, neither party can comment further.

Meruelo reached a sale agreement earlier this year for a majority ownership stake in the Hawks and the Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta that hosts the team.

The deal, which would have made Meruelo the first principal Hispanic owner of a NBA team, was subject to approval by the league’s board of governors, and financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Meruelo said the uncertainly of the NBA’s current labor dispute, which has kept players locked out since July 1 and wiped out the first month of regular season games, played a role in his decision.

“Although all parties negotiated in good faith, we were not able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement on some key issues given the current uncertainty surrounding the labor issue,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website.

“As a result we mutually decided to terminate the deal effective immediately.”

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Sports News

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