Push to keep Thrashers in Atlanta

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:20 PM ET

Reports out of Atlanta suggest the effort to keep the Thrashers there is still alive.

One revealed the identity of a previously unknown mystery buyer as J.B. Smith, a venture capitalist who used to head up Equity 11, an investment firm based in Detroit.

The report says Smith wants to buy the NHL's Thrashers, the NBA’s Hawks and Phillips Arena from the Atlanta Spirit group, and has been working on the purchase since March.

Meanwhile, USA Today reported a group interested in keeping the Thrashers in Atlanta has submitted a term sheet, spelling out an offer. However, that report says the group is well behind Winnipeg’s True North Sports and Entertainment in the negotiation process.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting one group going after the Hawks and Phillips Arena — and not the Thrashers — has an exclusivity agreement for negotiations with the Spirit.

That could mean the ownership group is preparing to split the entities, possibly selling off the NHL team separately.

As recently as last Thursday, one of the Spirit’s co-owners said the group was no closer to finding a buyer who would keep the team in Atlanta than it was two months ago.


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