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Supersonics set for relaunch in Seattle

updated 1:56 PM EST, Mon January 21, 2013
Seattle Supersonics fans have been campaigning for its team to return to the city.
Seattle Supersonics fans have been campaigning for its team to return to the city.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Seattle is set to host NBA next season for first time since 2008
  • Chris Hansen's group has completed a deal to buy the Sacramento Kings
  • Hansen has bought a reported 65% stake in the franchise worth $340 million
  • NBA Board of Governors expected to rubber stamp the move

(CNN) -- Seattle is set to welcome NBA basketball back to the city following the sale of the Sacramento Kings, in a move which is expected to relaunch the Supersonics franchise.

Chris Hansen, whose group is reported to have purchased a 65% share of the Kings franchise, valued at $525 million, plans to relocate the team to Seattle, which lost its original franchise when owners moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008.

The deal will see Hansen take the Maloof family's 53% share of the team as well as minority owner Bob Hernreich's 12% stake.

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The move, which is expected to be go through following lengthy negotiations with the Maloof family, now awaits approval from the NBA Board of Governors.

If ratified, the new ownership group hopes to move the Kings franchise to Seattle in time for the 2013-2014 season, when they will be renamed the the Supersonics and play at KeyArena before moving to a downtown venue in two years time.

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"We are happy to announce that we have entered into a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise," Hansen said in a statement.

"The sale is obviously subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and we look forward to working with the League in the coming months to consummate the transaction.

"While we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the transaction or our plans for the franchise given the confidential nature of the agreement and NBA regulations regarding public comments during a pending transaction, we would just like to extend our sincerest compliments and gratitude toward the Maloof family.

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"Our negotiations with the family were handled with the utmost honor and professionalism and we hope to continue their legacy and be great stewards of this NBA franchise in the coming years and decades."

The original Supersonics, founded in 1967, won the 1979 NBA Championship and played in the city until 2008, when the team's owners controversially moved the squad to Oklahoma.

Since then, investors and city officials have sought to revive the Supersonics franchise by relocating another NBA team, and Hansen is confident the move will prove a success in the long-term.

Maloof

Gavin Maloof, the Kings co-owner, said the family had "always appreciated and treasured" their ownership of the Kings.

He said: "We have always appreciated and treasured our ownership of the Kings and have had a great admiration for the fans and our team members.

"We would also like to thank Chris Hansen for his professionalism during our negotiation. Chris will be a great steward for the franchise."

The final decision remains with the NBA, which released its own statement on the matter.

It read: "The NBA received an executed Purchase and Sale Agreement for the transfer of a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family to an investor group led by Christopher Hansen.

"The proposed transaction is subject to the approval of the NBA Board of Governors and has been referred to the Board's committee process for review."

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