- California businessman had agreement to buy NBA team
- Team owner Atlanta Spirit Group says parties decided to terminate deal
- NBA games have been canceled through November 30
Talks between California entrepreneur Alex Meruelo and the Atlanta Hawks over the purchase of the NBA team collapsed Friday.
In a statement, Bruce Levenson -- one of a group of men making up the Atlanta Spirit Group, which owns the team -- said the Hawks and Meruelo "mutually decided to terminate their agreement effective immediately."
Levenson said that because of a confidentiality clause included in the contract, neither party could comment further, but he said the Atlanta Hawks are no longer for sale.
"We're excited to remain as owners of the Hawks and are committed to building on our string of four straight playoff appearances," he said.
Meruelo, a successful businessman who built his empire on everything from pizzas to wind turbines, would have become the first Hispanic majority owner of an NBA team if his bid had been successful.
Meanwhile, disagreements are ongoing over a new collective bargaining deal between teams and players, determining how NBA professionals are paid.
A lockout that began in July has forced the cancellation of the season through at least November 30.
Regular-season games were scheduled to begin this week.