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January 12, 2015 Updates

The Hawks have retained investment banks Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to handle the sale of the team. Sources expect the team's "book," detailing the franchise's assets and liabilities, to be available for the interested groups by the end of this week, or next week at the latest. The Hawks have struggled in recent years to connect with the Atlanta community at large, losing market share to SEC football, NASCAR events and golf tournaments like The Masters in nearby Augusta. But the scarcity of NBA franchises and the potential of a market with 4.72 million people in the city and surrounding counties has a lot of rich people very interested in buying the team. NBA.com

Although there have been rumors that Seattle businessman Chris Hansen -- who nearly bought the Sacramento Kings in 2013 with the intention of moving them to Seattle -- is also going to make a bid for the Hawks, the high likelihood is that the franchise will be sold to a group which will keep the team in Atlanta. "Basketball is my first priority, but if we buy the team it's not going anywhere," Webber said. "And while we're creating the basketball identity, I go into the community and I re-tie the bridges with the community. It could be something as simple as when I was growing up in Detroit, Isiah Thomas did a commercial that said 'look before you dig with the Detroit Electric Company, so you don't shock yourself.' " NBA.com

And former Nuggets and Hawks center Dikembe Mutombo also has interest in the Hawks, though it is not known whether he'll be part of one of the existing bidding groups or try to form one of his own. It is the competition itch each had while a player, expressed by other means. "It's the biggest opportunity of my life," Webber said Saturday. "This is bigger than a chance to make the NBA. I take it that serious. And the mentors that I have, I appreciate that they believe in me. But I take it that seriously. If we don't get it, it's gonna hurt. Believe me, we will be involved in the community and connecting with it, but I still want to win a championship. So as long as I get a ring, yeah, I'm still competing." NBA.com

January 11, 2015 Updates

‎After a historic two-decade run of slugging in which he shattered Babe Ruth's all-time record by hitting 755 home runs, Aaron has ‎spent much of his post-playing career as a baseball executive as well overseeing a business portfolio that has featured numerous car dealerships and restaurants. Sources say Aaron's devotion to Atlanta as a city and his longstanding fondness for the Hawks as a basketball fan led him to join this group of bidders. ESPN.com

January 8, 2015 Updates

Former National Basketball Association players Junior Bridgeman and Grant Hill are leading a group that will bid on the Atlanta Hawks, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. They’ve hired New York-based advisory firm Galatioto Sports Partners to explore a purchase, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Hill didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. Sal Galatioto, founder of Galatioto Sports Partners, declined to comment. Bloomberg

The team is also drawing interest from a group that includes BTIG LLC’s Steven Starker and Marquis Jet co-founder Jesse Itzler. “There’s extreme interest,” said Itzler, who became an entrepreneur after rapping under the name Jesse Jaymes, and who lives in Atlanta with his wife Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx Inc. “It’s still preliminary.” Bloomberg

“The Atlanta Hawks today announced that its owners have unanimously approved a plan to sell the franchise and the Philips Arena operating rights. The sale will commence immediately. Atlanta Hawks Basketball and Entertainment, LLC has retained Goldman Sachs & Co. and Inner Circle Sports LLC to advise on the sale of the franchise and ancillary assets.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution

January 7, 2015 Updates

According to sources, those who have expressed a level of interest include: * Byran Colangelo: The former President and CEO of the Toronto Raptors. The son of Jerry Colangelo, he was the NBA’s 2005 and 2007 Executive of the Year. * Grant Hill: The former NBA player and current analyst joined Antony Ressler and Bruce Karsh with a $1.2 billion failed bid to by the Los Angeles Clippers. Hill deflected questions about his interest in the Hawks during a recent segment on NBA TV. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

According to sources, those who have expressed a level of interest include: * Jason Levien. The former Memphis Grizzlies CEO left the organization in May. He is a co-owner of the MLS franchise D.C. United. * Steve Kaplan: The Los Angeles-based investor joined Robert Pera’s group as a limited investor to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies. He has reportedly made attempts to buy baseball’s San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers in recent years. * Sheldon Adelson: The billionaire businessman is the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

According to sources, Jesse Itzler, the entrepreneur and former rapper who has done some consulting work for the Hawks, is a prospective investor. He attends many home games and has previously considered a minor interest in the team. According to sources, his current interest would be as a minority owner. He is married to Sara Blakley, the founder of Spanxx. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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