Private equity billionaire Tony Ressler wins bidding for Hawks

Private equity billionaire Tony Ressler has won the bidding to purchase the Atlanta Hawks.
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Private equity billionaire Tony Ressler has won the bidding to purchase the Atlanta Hawks, the team announced Wednesday night. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but earlier in the day, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN reported it would be for $850 million.

Ressler leads a group that includes former NBA forward Grant Hill. Bloomberg reported last week that Ressler, the co-founder of Ares Management LP, had entered the bidding. He and Hill previously unsuccessfully bid on the Los Angeles Clippers last year, according to Bloomberg. Steve Ballmer ended up purchasing the Clippers for a reported $2 billion.

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"We are excited to welcome this new ownership group and are deeply gratified by its commitment to the Hawks and the Atlanta community," Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said in a statemenet. "We are pleased that the group is committed to continue building on the franchise's storied history and recent success."

[daily_cut.NBA]Hawks owner Bruce Levenson decided to sell his controlling interest in the team last September, and in January the three groups that own Atlanta agreed to sell 100% of the franchise.

Levenson decided to sell his interest in the team after a 2012 email surfaced in which he expressed racial stereotypes about the Hawks fan base to fellow team executives. 

Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins and a group including former NBA player Chris Webber were among those who had reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the franchise. 

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Hill had previously been a part of a bidding group for the Hawks that included former NBA player Junior Bridgeman, but USA Today reported that the group dropped out of the bidding earlier this month. 

- Molly Geary