Atlanta Hawks Sale Partly Financed By Previous Ownership

California businessman Alex Meruelo's purchase of the Atlanta Hawks is being partially financed by the team's current ownership, Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com reports.

According to Ozanian, nearly 40 percent of  the purchase price, which has been estimated at nearly $300 million, will be financed by Atlanta Spirit LLC over a term of five years. The unusual seller financing could lead to the NBA's Board of Governor's to more closely scrutinize the sale to Meruelo, who has made his fortune as a real estate developer and as the owner of a successful pizza chain, La Pizza Loca.

Meruelo is purchasing controlling interest in both the Hawks and Philips Arena, which carries over $120 million in debt, from the same ownership group that sold the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, who were relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Despite his New York roots and California residence, Meruelo, who would become the first Hispanic majority owner in league history, plans to keep the franchise in Atlanta.

"I am committed to winning and look forward to engaging with our wonderful fans, our dedicated season ticket holders, our committed corporate partners and this passionate community," Meruelo said on Monday. "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"  

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