The Atlanta Hawks are for sale and while the beginning of this might not have been all rosy for Mr. Bruce Levenson, the end of it will all be a bouquet of smiles for him. The sale price is estimated to approximate some $850 million which will be financed in cash and by the assumption of debt, some sources say. Most experts had predicted that the Hawks would sell in a range somewhere between $900million to $1billion, this is to include the banking firms Levenson hired back in October to conduct the sale, Goldman Sachs, and Inner Circle Sports.
According to Time.com, the current figure is now closer to the actual bids that have been made by interested parties. A leading group in the process is the Ressler group. It constitutes Anthony Ressler himself, a real estate developer and co-founder of the private equity and investment firm Ares Management; former NBA player Grant Hill; seasonal Hawks consultant and frequent game attendee Jesse Itzler, husband to Spanx founder Sara Blakely who is also part of the group; Steve Starker, BTIG co-founder and New York investment banker; and Clayton Dubilier & Rice Partner Rick Schnall.
The other leading group is led by Steve Kaplan, Grizzlies minority owner; Jason Levien, Grizzlies former CEO; Erick Thohir and Handy Poernomo, Indonesian billionaires and Hank Aaron-a Braves great has been associated with the group. The buy, however, went to the Ressler group who won with their $850million bid for the team. This win is a good one for Mr. Ressler, who fell into one of the three finalists in the event leading to the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, but his group’s bid didn’t quite cut it at $1.2billion as compared to $2billion from Steve Ballmer, who won it.
This deal is a great one for Mr. Bruce Levenson considering his group initially bought it -and the operating rights to the Phillip’s Arena, which are also included in this sale, and the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers (who they later sold at $170million in 2011)-at $250million back in 2004. Their 50.1% stake in the ownership will promise a substantial penny. This also goes to point further out how the tides for the NBA product have drastically improved what with them landing lucrative new television deals, therefore upscaling the value of the franchises drastically.
Back in 1977, Mr. Levenson co-founded United Communications Group with Mr. Ed Peskowitz. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University and a law degree from the American University in Washington DC. He started out writing for the Washington Star and Observer Publishing before founding UCG and even after 27years with the company, he still continues to drive UCG’s business strategy and plays a significant role in the firm’s acquisition efforts. Mr. Levenson has had a seat on the Board of Directors of the Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association, served as a Director at TechTarget.com. He has been the President of the “I Have a Dream Foundation” of Washington and is involved in many philanthropic endeavors. Visit brucelevenson.com to learn more about Mr. Bruce Levenson.