Matt Ishbia Finalizes Purchase of Suns for $4 Billion

Billionaire Mortgage Lender Matt Ishbia Finalizes Purchase of Phoenix Suns and WNBA mercury For a record price of $4 billion, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The deal, expected to be announced as soon as Tuesday, ends the tumultuous tenure of owner Robert Sarver.

Ishbia is well-known and well-respected in the league office, including commissioner Adam Silver, and has developed relationships with several NBA owners. He will have to undergo a background check and approval from the board of governors, but that is expected to be a formality, sources said.

Justin Ishbia, a founding partner of Shore Capital, will make a significant investment and serve as an alternate governor, sources told ESPN. He is Matt Ishbia’s brother.

The Suns’ record sale marks a new day in the rising ratings of NBA teams. Joe Tsai bought the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 for an NBA-record $2.35 billion. Before that sale, Tillman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017, and Steve Palmer bought the LA Clippers for $2 billion in 2014.

The Lakers sold a minority stake for a higher valuation than the Suns’ $4 billion, landing at a $5 billion valuation.

Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, a Michigan-based company that has pursued NBA and NFL teams in recent years, finally landed a deal to own the Suns. Ishbia was a walk-on for Michigan State and part of the Spartans’ 2000 national championship team. He was close to Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo, and he previously donated $32 million to the basketball program.

The sale would end Sarver’s tenure with the Suns, which dates back to 2004, when he led a team that bought the team from Jerry Colangelo for $401 million.

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Sarver announced on September 21 that he would sell the Suns and Mercury in mid-September, after the NBA announced its findings from a 10-month investigation into his conduct as majority owner of the Suns.

In November 2021, the NBA commissioned an investigation led by New York-based law firm Wachtell Lipton following an ESPN story detailing allegations of racism and misogyny during the server’s 17 years as owner.

As part of the league’s punishment, announced on September 13, Sarver was fined $10 million and suspended for one year, though growing outrage prompted him to sell the Suns and Mercury soon.

Server has selected investment bank Moelis & Company to oversee the sale, and investment banking executives who have managed sales of professional sports franchises told ESPN they expect the final price of the transaction to be a record.

In September, Suns executive vice president and CFO Jim Pittman told team staff that a full sale of the team could take six to nine months, extending through the 2022-23 season, according to team sources.

But in recent weeks, team employees told ESPN that groups of prospective bidders have been touring team facilities. Sarver owns a third of the franchise, but has the authority as the team’s managing partner to sell the team entirely, sources told ESPN.

ESPN’s Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.

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