Reported on time.com, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson had high aspirations to sell his team for a hefty $1 billion back in the beginning of the year. His choice was on the higher range of predictions, but many credible sources had similar forecasts. Including banks such as Goldman Sachs and entities such as Inner Circle Sports who were given the responsibility of the sale, but the joke was on them. The final price of sale was $850 million to billionaire equity and investment fund manager Anthony Ressler. Other members of Russler’s group are Clayton Dubilier & Rice partner Rick Schnall, Spanx owner Sara Blakely and her husband, entrepreneur Jesse Itzler. Ressler had plans to buy the LA Clippers last year but was out bid by Steve Ballmer’s $2 Billion offer.
Fortunately, Ballmer’s astronomical price worked out well for the Hawk’s. Last year Forbes had them valued at $425 million, but the sale of the Clippers and the Bucks displayed a change in the market completely.
Bruce’s high price does not go unwarranted due to the Hawk’s regular season record and first place standings going into the playoffs. Although, a few other problems plagued the team’s value, such as a gym that ranked below NBA standards and a practice facility that could potentially deter free agents.
Despite the Hawk’s selling below Levenson’s asking price, sports attorney Irwin Raij says this is a strong number. “The price reflects the strength of the NBA product right now and views as to what they think the market can become,” he said. “This takes into account the national and local media deals and the trend of increasing NBA team valuations. … This price for this team in this market will be viewed positively.”
Levenson and others purchased the Hawks, the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers and operating rights to Phillip Arena for $250 million back in 2004. They sold the Thrashers back in 2011 for $170 million.
Bruce Levenson is a business man and former NBA owner and a philanthropist. Born in Chevy Chase, Maryland and a law school graduate from American University in Washington, D.C. Levenson also served as governor to the Atlanta Hawk’s on the NBA’s governor board since 2004. Levenson also founded United Communications Group back in 1977 and is on the board of directors for Tech Target, a media company.