Atlanta Spirit, owners of the NBA Atlanta Hawks, NHL Atlanta Thrashers and Philips Arena, has retained Goldman Sachs to bring in outside investors after suffering $20 million in annual losses since 2005.
Atlanta Spirit co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. confirmed that his group has brought in Goldman primarily to bring in minority investors and to financially restructure the team’s ownership of the two teams and operating rights of the arena.
Gearon said that Atlanta Spirit has no plans to sell the franchises, but he did not discount selling either team if the price is right.
“We have engaged Goldman to look for additional investors in either of the teams,” Gearon said. “We are also looking for strategic ways to assess our balance sheet. If someone comes at us with a crazy price, then you’d have to consider [selling]. But that hasn’t been the goal in working with Goldman.”
Atlanta Spirit is also looking for Goldman to restructure its deal that calls for the Hawks franchise to serve as collateral under the group’s Philips Arena operating rights agreement. Atlanta Spirit bought the teams and the arena in 2004 for $250 million from Time Warner.
Since 2005, the eight-member Atlanta Spirit investment group has been shouldering steep operating losses reaching nearly $100 million.