Firm hired to sell Hawks

The Hawks have hired investment banker Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to sell the franchise, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The exact percentage of the Hawks franchise that will be made available still has not been determined. Currently, the 50.1 percent stake of the Washington group led by Bruce Levenson is on the market. Levenson announced his intention to sell his stake in the franchise, 24 percent as an individual, last month upon the discovery of a racially inflammatory e-mail he wrote in 2012 about, among other things, the makeup of the Hawks fan base.

Levenson has the right to make 60 percent of the franchise available, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. That means that ownership groups centered in Atlanta and New York may have to sell down their stakes in the team. The Atlanta group holds 34 percent and the New York group holds 16 percent, according to several people familiar with the situation.

The hire of Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports was voted on and approved by the Atlanta Spirit board. The group must still meet to determine the available percent of the franchise for the complicated sale process to move forward.

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed have said there are several individuals and groups that have expressed interest in the team. Former NBA players Dominique Wilkins, Chris Webber and Dikembe Mutombo and entertainment lawyer Doug Davis are among those known to have interest in being part of an ownership group. There are likely others.

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