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$300 Million Price Tag For Atlanta Hawks Includes Debt, According To Report

The estimated $300 million that California businessman Alex Meruelo paid to acquire an 80-percent stake in the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena includes the debt on the arena, writes Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

According to Marc Ganis of sports business consulting firm SportsCorps, the $300 million represents the "enterprise value", which includes Meruelo assuming nearly all of the debt on the team and arena from Atlanta Spirit LLC, which purchased the operating rights from Time Warner in 2004 for $208 million.

Debt on the 12-year-old Philips Arena is estimated to be around $120 million.

Meruelo has vowed to keep the Hawks in Atlanta, and Ganis thinks a savvy businessman like Meruelo could do well in the market.

"The Hawks have been one of the lesser teams in NBA over long period of time -- with spurts of a difference -- in terms of attendance and consistent fan support," Ganis said. "That offers upside to someone who believes he has the business acumen and marketing ability to turn them around and make them more of a consistent winner and a consistent draw."

The AJC report regarding the inclusion of debt in the purchase price contradicts a report from earlier on Monday by David Aldridge of NBA.com that the estimated purchase price would not include the debt on the arena.