Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

The Atlanta Spirit ownership group is on the verge of selling the Thrashers, but it will be holding on to the Hawks at least for a while.

The Spirit and outgoing San Diego Padres owner John Moores agreed Friday to terminate Moores’ exclusive negotiating period on a possible purchase of the Hawks, Spirit partner Michael Gearon Jr. confirmed.

“We no longer have an exclusivity,” Gearon told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was ended by mutual agreement after preliminary discussions.”

It is not clear how long Moores’ exclusive period had been in effect. The parties agreed to end the arrangement after the period produced little momentum toward a deal. Ending the exclusivity doesn’t preclude the possibility of subsequent negotiations with Moores about the Hawks, but it reopens the process to other potential bidders.