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AP source: Hawks to be sold to Calif. businessman

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ATLANTA (AP) - A person familiar with the deal says controlling interest in the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena will be sold to California developer and pizza chain owner Alex Meruelo.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because no official announcement has been made. The deal, subject to the approval of the NBA, is to be announced on Monday.

The Hawks ownership group, led by Michael Gearon Jr. and Bruce Levenson, also recently sold the NHL Atlanta Thrashers to a group that has moved the team to Winnipeg. The Thrashers deal, for a reported $170 million, was announced on May 31.

The Hawks will remain in Atlanta.

Meruelo founded La Pizza Loca, which has over 50 franchised and company owned restaurants in Southern California.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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