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09-15-2003, 07:00 PM

AOL Agrees to Sell NBA's Hawks, NHL's Thrashers to Local Investment Group
Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- AOL Time Warner Inc., the world's biggest media company, agreed to sell its Atlanta-based professional basketball and hockey teams to an investment group with local ties, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The company scheduled a news conference to introduce the buyers tomorrow, the statement said.

Last Updated: September 15, 2003 18:39 EDT

09-15-2003, 07:01 PM
David McDavid is not in the group

09-15-2003, 07:21 PM
That's weird. I had the idea McDavid had already bought them & was just waiting on approval. He has crappy luck w/the team-buying thing.

09-15-2003, 08:06 PM
Maybe he needs to sell a few more cars.

09-16-2003, 04:39 AM
The "I thought it was a done deal" disease is spreading rapidly in the Dallas area.

Tony tha Mavs fan
09-16-2003, 04:24 PM
AOL sells Hawks, Thrashers to Belkin group

September 16, 2003
ATLANTA, United States (AFP) - After an 11th-hour change of heart, media giant AOL Time Warner has left Texas businessman David McDavid out in the cold and found a new suitor for the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers.

The company on Tuesday announced a binding agreement to sell the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams as well as the operating rights to Philips Arena to Atlanta Spirit, an investment group that includes Boston businessman Steve Belkin and several Atlantans.

Belkin previously failed to land an NBA expansion team in Charlotte, North Carolina. The group also includes Atlanta businessman Michael Gearon Jr. and attorney Rutherford Seydel.


Seydel is the son-in-law of Ted Turner, who owned both teams as well as baseball's Atlanta Braves before losing control to AOL Time Warner.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that we feel best serves the interests of our company, of the teams and Philips Arena, and of Atlanta sports fans," said Philip I. Kent, the president and chairman of TBS, Incorporated, which is owned by AOL Time Warner.

The sale is subject to approval of TBS, AOL Time Warner's Board of Directors and the NBA and NHL Board of Governors.

The decision comes after almost a year of negotiations between AOL Time Warner and McDavid.

"We continue to have the highest professional regard for David McDavid and the McDavid group, with whom we worked in good faith for the past several months," AOL Time Warner said in a statement.

McDavid signed a letter of intent to buy the teams on April 30 and had been negotiating to complete the deal ever since, the newspaper said.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday that AOL Time Warner has been negotiating with the new group for the past two or three weeks to sell the teams for an estimated 350 million dollars.

That time frame reportedly traces to the point in which the McDavid negotiations ran into a snag because of problems with the bonds on Philips Arena.

Belkin became well known in NBA circles last year when his group, which included former NBA star Larry Bird, attempted to buy the expansion NBA franchise that went to Black Entertainment CEO Robert Johnson.

Ted Turner played a key role in running the franchises when Time Warner merged with Turner Broadcasting. But he was pushed out of a management role when AOL and Time Warner merged.

With Seydel part of the investment group, a member of the Turner family is back in the picture.

"We have assembled an all-star team of owners with a great combination of local commitment, strong resources and significant experience in both basketball and hockey," Seydel said. "We take these teams and Philips Arena in trust for the community, and our goal is to deliver exciting, winning hockey and basketball for our Atlanta fans."

AOL Time Warner, which put the properties for sale to alleviate mounting debt, will retain a 15 percent passive equity stake in the venture.

The Hawks were 35-47 and missed the NBA playoffs for the fourth straight year. The Thrashers began play in the NHL in 1999-2000 and have yet to make the playoffs.

Philips Arena, located in downtown Atlanta, was built at a cost of 213 million dollars and opened in 1999.