On April 23, 2015, Antony Ressler and his investing partners agreed to purchase the Atlanta Hawks from Bruce Levenson and his business partners for $850 million ending Bruce’s eleven year co-ownership of this franchise. Bruce will also give up the operating rights to Phillips Arena where the Hawks play their home games. This sale took place during an NBA season when the Hawks set a franchise record of sixty wins and were the top seed in their division heading into the playoffs.
Bruce Levensonwas born in Washington D.C. and raised in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He attended Washington University in St. Louis and completed law school at the American University in D.C. While he was in law school, he began to work as a journalist with the Washington Star and later co-founded United Communications Group in 1977 with his business partner Ed Peskowitz in a storage room above his dad’s liquor store. UCG published a newsletter called Oil Express which tracked developments in the oil industry. Later, UCG would cover news and data from a wide range of industries such as health care, energy, mortgage banking and more. It was one of the first companies to disseminate information online before the internet was widely used. Today UCG has over 46 million customers and has over one thousand employees.
In 2004, Bruce, Ed Peskowitz and a group of investing partners purchased the Atlanta Hawks, the NHL Atlanta Thrashers and the operating rights to Phillips Area for $250 million. In 2011 the group sold the Atlanta Thrashers for $170 million. In 2014, Bruce announced that he was going to sell his share of the Hawks and a few months later, Ed and the remaining investors agreed to sell their share of the team as well. Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports handled the sale that saw multiple bids and when the bidding process was over, Antony Ressler and his investment group, which includes former NBA all-star Grant Hill, won the bid with an offer of $825 million. Price tag estimate to purchase the Hawks ranged from $700 million to $1 billion.
Today, Bruce continues to be a successful businessman running UCG focusing on business development, acquisitions and strategic planning. He is also well known for being a philanthropist. Bruce and his wife Karen are supporters of the U.S. Holocaust Museum and have funded numerous educational programs through the museum. The couple also founded the Center for Philanthropy and Non-Profit Management at the University of Maryland where students can take undergraduate and graduate courses in this particular field. Bruce has many more philanthropic endeavors that he is and his wife are involved in which will keep him busy for the foreseeable future.