The NBA's Atlanta Hawks have been sold the Los Angeles businessman Alex Meruelo, who said he plans to keep the team in Atlanta.
A Cuban-American, Meruelo is the first Hispanic owner of an NBA franchise.
Meruelo obtained a majority interest in the Hawks form the Atlanta Spirit Group. The deal includes operating rights to the Philips Arena. Financial terms of the arrangement weren't released and the sale must be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.
Meruelo, 48, becomes the first Hispanic principal owner of an NBA franchise. He is the founder and chief executive officer of the Meruelo Group, which includes a chain of pizza restaurants, construction companies, a casino and a television station.
"I am a lifelong basketball fan, a student of the NBA game and this is a dream come true for me," Meruelo said. "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.
"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."
This is the second major league franchise to be sold by the Atlanta Spirit Group this year. It dealt the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers to a Canadian group that moved the team to Winnipeg.
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