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Hawks deny sale is imminent

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ATLANTA

The Atlanta Hawks were officially still looking for new investment Friday after denying a report that said the team was on the verge of being sold.

Hawks part-owner Bruce Levenson dismissed SI.com's claims Thursday that a sale was "about to be consummated" with an unnamed buyer.

SI.com said that it was informed by two league officials hours before Thursday's NBA Draft, one of whom anticipated an imminent sale, and added that the news was "expected to come as a surprise" to Hawks officials.

But Levenson later told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the report was "not true" before the Hawks issued an official denial.

"As we have stated for an extended period of time, we engaged an investment banker to assist us in looking for investors for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena operating rights," a franchise statement said. "We have spoken with a number of parties, but at this time, there is no deal in place, nor is there an exclusive negotiating agreement in place. We will have no further comment at this time."

Last month, the Atlanta Spirit Group, a seven-person ownership group -- including Levenson -- that controls the Hawks, sold the Atlanta Thrashers to a group that will relocate the NHL franchise to Winnipeg, Manitoba, next season.

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