USA Today Sports announced the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to “billionaire equity and investment fund manager Antony Ressler for $850 million.” Ressler actually represents a group of investors who include Grant Hill, Jesse Itzler, Sara Blakely, Rick Schnall, and Steven Starker. See, http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2015/04/23/bankers-for-levenson-oversold-atlanta-hawks-by-27/.
Ressler stated, “We are honored and thrilled to … be the new stewards of the Hawks. We are excited by the Hawks success and wish them luck in the playoffs.”
Attorney Levenson, the former owner of the Atlanta Hawks, also purchased the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. In 2011, he sold the Thrashers for $170 million. The Thrashers later moved to Winnipeg, Canada.
According to PR News, the increase in the market value of the Hawks stemmed from contracts that the national and local television stations signed with the NBA team. Under Danny Ferry’s direction, the Atlanta Hawks were losing revenue. Spectators were purchasing tickets only, and they were not purchasing food and drinks from the concessions, which is a major portion of team’s revenue.
ESPN reported that Ferry took an “an indefinite leave of absence,” but truth be known, he was terminated by Bruce Levenson halfway through his $18 million 6-year contract when the team was sold. He hoped to remain with the team. Ressler’s group hoped to bolster the team’s income with investments from Fortune 500 companies.
Attorney Bruce Levenson former co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks filed a breach of contract suit against American International Group insurance company for breach of contract. Levenson asserts that the employment insurance company breached their contract when they did not get involved in negotiations which resulted in the termination of the team’s general manager Danny Ferry or pay the deficit in his loss of contract. Levenson earned his Bachelor of Arts from Washington University and his Juris Doctorate from American University.