Bruce Levenson recently was the recipient of a $730 million dollar payout when it was confirmed that he wanted to sell the Atlanta Hawks basketball team. Any time that there is such a heavyweight deal, you can expect that only the best and brightest banking team will be hired for the deal. In this case, Levenson decided to hire Goldman Sachs for the acquisition process. When dealing with a purchase this large, you would think that it might be somewhat difficult to find a buyer, but that is never the case. In this situation, the sale of Levenson’s team was finalized by April 23 of this year and a group that included Tony Ressler and former NBA star Grant Hill were the individuals fortunate enough to purchase the rights to the team and their lucrative brand.
The journey to purchase the Atlanta Hawks has been a rather interesting one. Although Bruce Levenson is no stranger to large-scale acquisitions, one has to wonder if he became a bit frustrated at this process. It was reported on the 22nd of April that the team would be sold to the Ressler-led group for the amount of $850 million. Unfortunately, this wasn’t exactly the case, because it was reported a day later that the team was actually sold for the amount of $730 million.
Another reason that Levenson might be just a bit disappointed would be in the fact that Goldman Sachs and their powerful investment team actually underestimated the amount that the team could sell for. Although the motives were unclear (perhaps they wanted to market themselves to Mr. Levenson?) they reportedly told the Atlanta-based billionaire that they could sell his team for upwards of $1 billion. Of course, that amount got bid down to first a figure of $850 million and then the rather spartan sum of $730 million.
Is Levenson disappointed about the amount that him and his associates received? Possibly, although speculation can run rampant in these kinds of things. One thing is probably certain: it’s not the end of the world for Mr. Levenson and he most likely will not lose any sleep at night about the price that the Atlanta Hawks sold for. The reason? Levenson originally purchased the team in 2003 for the rather paltry sum of $250 million. Although you of course have to adjust for inflation, Levenson and his group made almost a $500 million dollar profit from the sale of the team twelve years later.
Before the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson led a very interesting and successful life. Levenson was the co-founder of United Communications Group in 1977. They had rather humble beginnings, actually founding the company in Levenson’s apartment and publishing a small newsletter called “The Oil Express”. UCG would go on to launch a database called the Oil Price Information Service. UCG also owns an app called GasBuddy, which assists drivers in finding low gasoline prices. In 2003 Levenson purchased both the Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers. His group sold the NHL team in 2011 and the NBA team in April of 2015.