A organisation led by Ares Management LP’s billionaire co-founder Tony Ressler won a behest for a National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks, a organisation pronounced Wednesday night.

The sale cost was $730 million, according to a authority with approach believe of a transaction, a second many paid for an NBA organisation behind former Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion squeeze of a Los Angeles Clippers final year. Ressler’s organisation will also assume about $120 million in locus debt, another authority said.

“We are respected and anxious to have been selected to turn a new stewards of a Hawks,” Ressler pronounced in a organisation release. “We are impossibly vehement by a Hawks’ success and wish them fitness in a playoffs.”

The Hawks had a best record in a NBA’s Eastern Conference this deteriorate during 60-22 and have a 2-0 lead opposite a Brooklyn Nets in a initial turn of a playoffs after a 96-91 win Wednesday night in Atlanta.

Ressler’s organisation includes former NBA actor Grant Hill, who’ll be chairman, a authority informed with a sale said. Others shopping a organisation embody private-equity financier Richard Schnall; Spanx Inc. owners Sara Blakely and her husband, Jesse Itzler. Ressler will be investing privately in a Hawks, a authority said.

Sports consultant Marc Ganis pronounced Ressler, who unsuccessfully bid on a Clippers, will be a “terrific” owner.

“This is a man who has finished his due industry and is entrance in with a vigilant on using a good franchise,” pronounced Ganis, owners of SportsCorp Ltd. “He wants to run a basketball organisation given he wants to run a basketball organisation — not given he wants to be a genuine estate or media mogul.”

$825 Million

Forbes in Jan pronounced a Hawks were value $825 million, 22nd out of a league’s 30 clubs.

Ganis pronounced a $730 million cost tab “makes a good understanding of sense.”

“This is not one of a higher-value teams in a NBA,” he said. “It is personification in an comparison locus in a marketplace that has shown singular support for a sports franchises. The fact that it’s going in a mid-sevens is a covenant to a strength of a NBA.”

The sale brings to an finish a tenure of a organisation led by Bruce Levenson, who pronounced he was offered a bar after a avowal of a 2012 e-mail he wrote that he called “offensive,” “inappropriate” and racially insensitive.

‘Inappropriate’ E-Mail

In a e-mail, that Levenson reported to a NBA in July, he examined because a Hawks have had problem sketch white season-ticket holders. Levenson pronounced a e-mail “trivialized a fans by creation cliched assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip bound vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans competence be fearful of a black fans).”

Other bidders enclosed a organisation led by Oaktree Capital Management LP co-founder and Memphis Grizzlies part-owner Steve Kaplan.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Inner Circle Sports suggested a Hawks on a sale.

The Hawks haven’t been to a NBA Finals given a authorization changed to Atlanta from St. Louis before a 1968-69 season. Prior to this season, a organisation done a playoffs for 7 true years, never advancing past a second round.

The Hawks averaged 17,412 fans during home this season, 17th in a NBA. In a past 14 seasons, a organisation never finished aloft than 18th in attendance.

Hawks Chief Executive Officer Steve Koonin has been overseeing organisation operations during a sale, that requires capitulation from NBA owners.