HoopsHype Alex Meruelo rumors

December 26, 2011 Updates

But when the Meruelo deal collapsed in the NBA approval process last month, the ownership group -– led by Bruce Levenson, a Maryland businessman who serves as the Hawks' NBA governor, and Gearon, a lifelong Atlantan –- announced it was removing the for-sale sign from the basketball franchise. "At the beginning of the summer . . . I was just drained and exhausted," Gearon said. "I was emotionally spent. I thought maybe a new face [as owner] might make a difference. By being able to step back over the summer, [I was able to] get recharged, get energized again." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

November 8, 2011 Updates

The Hornets, currently owned by the league, will be sold at some point. Chairman Jac Sperling told the New Orleans Times-Picayune last month that "we've started having conversations with potential owners already" despite the lockout, adding, "The number of potential owners has grown. I think the commissioner mentioned there were four or five, and I think the number has increased a little bit. There are some potential owners who live in New Orleans and some who live outside of New Orleans." David Stern would not only love to have Johnson in a prominent role in the NBA again -- Magic remains a Lakers vice president, but with little day-to-day involvement -- but the commissioner has said he expects Johnson to one day be part of an ownership group. Atlanta is an unexpected option again after the sale to Alex Meruelo fell through last week. Bruce Levenson, one of the heads of the ownership group that would continue to run the team, quickly said the Hawks are no longer for sale. That is either true or, just maybe, what he has to say. Either way, Johnson will probably find out for himself. NBA.com

November 5, 2011 Updates

Southern California millionaire Alex Meruelo announced Friday that he has ended his bid to purchase the Atlanta Hawks. During the summer Meruelo had reached a reported $300-million agreement to buy a majority stake in the team and its Philips Arena. Reports first surfaced last month that the deal might be in jeopardy. "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 [NBA] labor issue," Meruelo said in a statement. "As a result we mutually decided to terminate the deal effective immediately." Los Angeles Times

November 4, 2011 Updates

Steve Kyler: Sources close to Hawks in May explained the Alex Meruelo was orginally an attempt to secure additional investors. Meruelo wanted entire team. This was a case of a very motivated buyer willing to take on the team... Current ownership wasn't seeking a sale... This deal found them. Sources close to this process say adding an additional minority investor still possible, current group plans to keep the team going forward. Twitter

Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo's deal to buy the Atlanta Hawks is off. The agreement between Meruelo and current Hawks owner Atlanta Spirit Group, signed in early August and contingent on NBA approval, was terminated by mutual agreement Friday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The development came after the deal stalled in the NBA approval process over the past month, as previously reported by the AJC. This means Atlanta Spirit –- a group led by Bruce Levenson, Ed Peskowitz and Michael Gearon Jr. -– remains as owner of the Hawks. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The Atlanta Hawks are no longer for sale," 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." Meruelo announced on Aug. 7 what he called a "definitive" agreement to buy a majority stake in the team, subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors. The approval process bogged down after the NBA required economic conditions that were not part of Meruelo's original deal. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Meruelo confirmed that the deal is off and provided the AJC with this statement: "I want to thank the Atlanta community who welcomed me with open arms. I am humbled and blessed by their warmth and hospitality. Basketball is my passion, but professional basketball is a business. 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. As a result we mutually decided to terminate the deal effective immediately. I have great respect for the owners of the Hawks and the league and remain committed to fulfilling my dream of owning an NBA team. I look forward to that opportunity in the future." Atlanta Journal-Constitution

October 27, 2011 Updates

Almost three months after announcing he had reached an agreement to purchase controlling interests of the Atlanta Hawks, Alex Meruelo on Thursday tried to dispel doubts he has the resources to buy and run the team. In a statement released by his Meruelo Group on Thursday, Meruelo said he is qualified to take over the team and operating rights to Philips Arena. "I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first class manner," Meruelo said. "I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. While I can't comment on the details of the approval process, I have and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion." SI.com

The proposed sale of the Hawks to Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo has hit a significant snag in the NBA approval process, according to people familiar with the situation. It is not clear at this point whether the deal will be completed. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Although Meruelo signed what he called a “definitive” agreement in early August to buy a majority stake in the Hawks from current owner Atlanta Spirit Group, the deal was contingent on the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. That has not been obtained as the league, as part of an extensive approval process, seeks financial assurances that Meruelo can fund the team’s ongoing operations. Meruelo declined to be interviewed Wednesday, but in a statement provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said he has the financial ability to operate the Hawks and intends to complete the purchase. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first-class manner,” Meruelo’s statement said. “I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. “While I can’t comment on the details of the approval process, I have [done] and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

October 26, 2011 Updates

The sale of the Atlanta Hawks to California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo is in jeopardy, according to sources close to the situation. Sources told ESPN.com on Wednesday that there are concerns at the league level and within the Hawks' current ownership group, headed by Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson, about whether Meruelo indeed has the sufficient funds to purchase a majority stake in the franchise and operate an NBA team. The NBA on Wednesday declined ESPN.com

One source briefed on the matter said that Gearon and Levenson have acknowledged in recent league meetings that they might have to own the team for at least one more year. Meruelo's agreement to purchase a majority stake in the Hawks, as well as the operating rights to Philips Arena, was announced in early August. But approval from 75 percent of the NBA's Board of Governors, following a lengthy background check, is required to make the deal official. When asked about the status of that review earlier this month, NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "All I would say to this is that the review process is ongoing." ESPN.com

The NBA on Wednesday declined comment when asked about Meruelo and the Hawks' situation. Said Meruelo in a statement: "I have more than ample resources to purchase and operate the Hawks in a first-class manner. I am committed to the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks. While I can't comment on the details of the approval process, I have and will do everything I can to bring the process to a positive conclusion." ESPN.com

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