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Hawks To Be Sold

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http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/6841180/atlanta-hawks-sold-california-businessman-report-saysATLANTA -- A person familiar with the deal says controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena will be sold to California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo.The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because no official announcement has been made. The deal, subject to the approval of the NBA, is to be announced on Monday.The Hawks ownership group, led by Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson, also recently sold the NHL Atlanta Thrashers to a group that has moved the team to Winnipeg. The Thrashers deal, for a reported $170 million, was announced on May 31.The Hawks will remain in Atlanta.Meruelo founded La Pizza Loca, which has over 50 franchised and company owned restaurants in Southern California.Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/6841180/atlanta-hawks-sold-california-businessman-report-saysATLANTA -- A person familiar with the deal says controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena will be sold to California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo.The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because no official announcement has been made. The deal, subject to the approval of the NBA, is to be announced on Monday.The Hawks ownership group, led by Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson, also recently sold the NHL Atlanta Thrashers to a group that has moved the team to Winnipeg. The Thrashers deal, for a reported $170 million, was announced on May 31.The Hawks will remain in Atlanta.Meruelo founded La Pizza Loca, which has over 50 franchised and company owned restaurants in Southern California.Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

Will this make the Hawks the first Latino-owned franchise in all the major 4 sports? Viva Los Hawks!http://meruelogroup.com/

With roots dating to 1986, the Meruelo Group is a minority-owned and operated holding company with vested interests in Construction and Engineering and affiliated interests in Real Estate, Food Services and Private Equity.

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I just read that too....I like that it is one owner.

Hopefully he is about making the team better and not just doing this as an investment.

Mark Bradley Article

Alex Meruelo: From pizza parlors to owning the Atlanta Hawks

10:00 am August 7, 2011, by Mark Bradley

The man who’s buying the Atlanta Hawks played basketball himself — at Don Bosco Technical Institute, a Catholic high school in Rosemead, Calif. Alex Meruelo became a starter for the Tigers as a junior, whereupon vocational opportunity intervened.

“My father gave me the chance to run my own business,” Meruelo said, speaking on a conference call with two AJC writers. “He had a bridal-and-tuxedo business. He leased the tuxedo part to me.”

That was it for his hoops career. (Couldn’t stay for practice when there were groomsmen to be measured.) Thirty-two years later, it’s no longer an either/or consideration. Alex Meruelo has made a bunch of money, having gone from renting out cummerbunds to building a chain of Southern California eateries — La Pizza Loca — to owning a TV station in Los Angeles to buying a hotel and casino in Reno. And now the entrepreneur is about to diversify into basketball.

“This is more than a dream for me,” Meruelo said. “It’s like when you think, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice?’ ”

Those four words — “Wouldn’t it be nice?” — were the title of the opening track on the greatest album (”Pet Sounds”) released by that California success story we know as the Beach Boys. Alex Meruelo has his own California story, and it’s downright harmonic, too. The son of Cuban immigrants, he stands to be the first Hispanic owner of an NBA franchise.

“I’m a person who doesn’t give up,” Meruelo said. “I want to bring a championship to the city of Atlanta.”

To date, Meruelo has had only a passing relationship with our town. (”I’ve been through the airport a couple of times,” he said.) Should the NBA approve this sale, that stands to change. His teenage children have checked out Atlanta houses via the Internet. He won’t abandon Los Angeles — the Meruelo Group is too rooted for that — but he and his family will commute.

We cannot know whether Meruelo will be an upgrade on the current ownership, but we can say this: He’s not apt to wind up suing himself. Although some of the men who comprise the many-headed Atlanta Spirit will remain as minority partners, Meruelo leaves no doubt as to the buck’s point of stoppage. “I will be in complete control of the team,” he said.

Beyond that, Meruelo can’t say much about his plans for the Hawks. The NBA doesn’t allow prospective owners to comment on personnel, and even if it did the lockout has imposed a league-wide silence. Throughout the half-hour conference call, Ruben Gonzalez, the Meruelo Group’s vice president for external affairs, would gently interrupt with reminders that a particular subject was “beyond the scope of our discussion.”

What did come though was Meruelo’s enthusiasm. He claims to love basketball without being a wonk: “I couldn’t name every single player on every single team.” He didn’t grow up a Hawks’ fan. (Born in New York, he followed the Knicks and the Jets and the Mets even after the family moved to California.) He goes to Angels games but prefers basketball. He has inquired — so discreetly as to have called no attention to himself — about buying other NBA teams.

Regarding the Hawks, he knows whispers of a Mystery Buyer have been circulating. The mystery at its end, Meruelo said: “I wasn’t trying to be coy. I just didn’t want my name to circulate until I had something certain.”

Here he said to his audience of two: “You guys know Atlanta and cover Atlanta. I wanted to talk to you. I owe you that respect.”

An owner who respects his constituency? That’s a concept this city should embrace. It has worked for Arthur Blank and his Falcons. Liberty Media, by way of conspicuous contrast, has made no effort to endear its Colorado-based self to the folks who actually buy Braves tickets. But you don’t turn one La Pizza Loca into a string of 50 by ignoring your customers, and the hope/guess is that Meruelo will connect with those who’ve soured on what has become, on the record, a pretty good NBA club.

If you check Meruelo’s Facebook page, you’ll find a list of the teams he follows. The Angels are there, and so is the soccer L.A. Galaxy. (So, too, are the Philadelphia Eagles — Meruelo likes DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick.) Also mentioned is the team he’s poised to buy. “I’m 1,000 percent an Atlanta Hawks fan,” he said.

Soon enough, Alex Meruelo won’t just be following the Hawks. He’ll be leading them. And if you’re asking if he should be taken seriously … well, he wants this team badly enough to buy it when the league is locked out. Takes some guts, wouldn’t you say?

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Dude is smart, he's already got Bradley on his side by making some kiss-*ss remarks about owing them respect (although its possible he really feels this way, which would be scary that Bradley deserves respect).And I did a quick look around at the big 4 sports, looks like Arte Moreno of the Angels beat Meruelo to the coveted first Latin-owner status.

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Here come the Los Hawks jerseys. I guess the official rally food can't be corn dogs anymore. It's gonna have to be mexican pizza.

790theZone is reporting the sale as a done deal...(of course they aren't exactly paragons of journalistic integrity).

Our new mascot should be Speedy Gonzales!

Posted Image Ariba!

Best line in the article: "We cannot know whether Meruelo will be an upgrade on the current ownership, but we can say this: He’s not apt to wind up suing himself. " :biggrin:

Edited by DJlaysitup
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Great news! I can be a fan of my team again. Now I just have to break the news to Kevin Durant on twitter."Kevin, Im getting back together with my old team. Some things have changed and I really think it can work this time,"

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"Kevin, Im getting back together with my old team. Some things have changed and I really think it can work this time,"

LOL :biggrin: !!...and in a dark back room in Boston...Steve Belkin sits with his flunkies...rotating two large ball bearings in his hands slowly...:comando:

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We should throw a pizza party.

Posted Image

These corn dogs are made of chicken, jalapeños and cheddar cheese in our famous batter.

Posted Image

Edited by DJlaysitup
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I welcome him!If nothing else, the guy should at least recongnize the importance of getting something decent to eat at Philips. The food their sucks and the selection is terrible.

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HOLY FRIJOLES!

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Good bye Atlanta Spirit Group. GAWD...in how many different ways did this entire venture fail? From draft picks, to coaches, to court drama, to losing a franchise....to the low point of selling Kobe jersey's in our Arena. Such a breath of fresh air... I hope this guy is for real. He sounds for real, but we won't know until the wheels on the bus start going round and round.

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Edited by Wretch

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Couldn't be happier. Yes, we don't what will happen until he gets in charge. However, he is saying the right things, like wanting to win a championship in Atlanta. Having a house in Atlanta, so he will be there to support the franchise. Sounds like he is committed to building a winner. I think one thing we can all agree on he is not going to be worse that the ASG. Good Riddance A-Holes!P

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Why didn't he buy all three and save the Thrashers? I'm glad we are rid of the worst sports ownership ever but I wish this guy had bought all three. One good thing for NHL fans: the NHL was eager to get rid of any connection to the ASG that they broke their own rules about selling to local groups (over twenty local groups tried to buy the Thrashers) just to get the ASG out of the NHL. Now that those buffoons are gone we may be able to get this new guy or some other ownership to buy a NHL team and work out a deal with the new pizza guy to play in Philips.

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