Hawks owners approve plan to sell team

The Atlanta Hawks will be put up for sale after the franchise’s owners announced Thursday that they unanimously approved a plan to sell all shares in the team.

The sale will include the operating rights to the team’s arena, Philips Arena, and the franchise is expected to stay in Atlanta.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “the Atlanta Hawks are not moving to another market.”

Co-owners Bruce Levenson and Ed Peskowitz own 50.1 percent of the team, and it was reported last week that the full ownership group was ready to join them in the sale.

Levenson announced his intention to sell his controlling interest in the Hawks following a controversy in September sparked by an email he had written in 2012 to fellow owners. In the email, Levenson outlined his belief that the team needed to build a more diverse fan base that includes more “suburban whites” to help drive more season ticket sales and corporate sponsors.

“After much long and difficult contemplation, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the team, the Atlanta community, and the NBA to sell my controlling interest in the Hawks franchise,” Levenson wrote on Sept. 7.

He announced at the time that Koonin would oversee all team operations and take all organizational reports during the sale process.

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