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NBA Completes Purchase of Hornets, First League-Owned Franchise

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The National Basketball Association completed its acquisition of the New Orleans Hornets, whose owner George Shinn was forced to sell the franchise due to financial troubles.

The NBA’s Board of Governors today approved an agreement between Shinn and the league that allows the NBA to run the team until a new owner can be found, the league said in an e-mailed statement. The transaction makes the Hornets the NBA’s first league-owned team.

Jac Sperling, a New Orleans native and founder of Grit Rock Ventures LLC, an investment company based on the sports and entertainment businesses, will be the team’s chairman and governor, the release said. Sperling is also the vice chairman of Minnesota Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild.

Shinn, 49, founded the Hornets in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1988 and moved them to New Orleans in 2002. The Hornets opened the 2010 season 8-0 and are currently 16-11, seven and a half games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference’s Southwest Division. Through 13 home games, the Hornets are averaging 13,629 fans, the third-lowest average attendance in the NBA.

Hornets President Hugh Weber will continue directing the day-to-day activities of the team, the statement said.

Editor: Rob Gloster.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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