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Report: L.A. Private Equity Titan Buys Hawks

Antony Ressler, the chief executive of Century City private equity and debt firm Ares Management, has agreed to buy the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks for about $850 million, sources told ESPN. Ressler, who owns part of pro baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers – and bid on the Los Angeles Clippers last year – led a group that also includes former NBA player Grant Hill and Spanx founder Sara Blakely. Both Ressler and Blakely are billionaires. Ares Management is the largest L.A.-area private equity firm with $21.2 billion under management, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Ressler is not the first L.A.-area money man who’s agreed to buy Atlanta’s basketball team. Alex Meruelo of Downey conglomerate Meruelo Group had a deal in 2011 to take a majority stake in the team, but it fell through later that year over financial concerns. Hollywood movie producer Thomas Tull, chief of Legendary Entertainment in Burbank, also was rumored to be interested in buying the Hawks this year. The Hawks are the first pro basketball team to sell after last year’s record-breaking $2 billion purchase of the Clippers by former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. A representative for Ares Management did not immediately return a request for comment.

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