Monday, August 8, 2011

Atlanta Hawks sold during NBA lockout: Alex Meruelo to be first Hispanic owner

August 08, 2011 | By Sam Mamudi, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Despite the labor strife roiling the National Basketball Association, the league’s teams are still finding buyers — especially, it seems, among value-minded professional investors.

On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks became the fourth NBA franchise sold in the past year to this new breed of owner with Alex Meruelo, founder of the Los Angeles-based Meruelo Group, agreeing to buy the team and the operating rights to its Philips Arena home.

In recent years, Meruelo had made inquiries about buying other NBA clubs, according to sports-industry professionals.

“I am a lifelong basketball fan, a student of the NBA game, and this is a dream come true for me,” Meruelo said in a statement. “I believe that both the Hawks and Philips Arena have unlimited potential for the future. I am honored to be a part of that future.”

The deal is the second acquisition agreed to since last month’s start of the NBA lockout, a sign that the unrest isn’t enough to dampen the appetites of would-be owners.

Among those owners, the most recent buyers have similar professional backgrounds as long-term investors in, and owners of, companies. 

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