Mat Ishbia Agrees to Buy Phoenix Suns and Mercury in Record $4 Billion Sale | phoenix suns

Mortgage executive Mat Ishbia has agreed in principle to buy a majority stake in the phoenix suns and Phoenix Mercury from embattled owner Robert Sarver for $4 billion, the parties announced Tuesday.

The sale is expected to take several weeks to complete. Ishbia, who is chairman, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, which bills itself as the nation’s largest mortgage lender, will be subject to an investigation process by the nbaand once that’s complete, the league’s board of governors will have to approve the sale.

The board is not scheduled to meet until March, although it could meet virtually if the vetting process is completed beforehand.

Forbes recently listed Ishbia’s net worth at $5.1 billion. Ishbia is a former player at Michigan State under coach Tom Izzo, and was a member of the Spartans’ 2000 NCAA championship team.

“I am extremely excited to be the next governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Ishbia said in a statement Tuesday night. “Both teams have an incredibly dynamic fan base and I have loved experiencing the energy of the Valley over the past few months.

“Basketball is the center of my life, from my high school days as a player to the honor of playing for Coach Izzo and winning a national title at Michigan State University. I have spent the last two decades building my mortgage business, United Wholesale Mortgage, into the number one mortgage lender in America and I am confident that we can bring the same level of success to these great organizations on and off the floor.”

If the sale closes at $4 billion, it would be the largest purchase in NBA history. Joe Tsai bought the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center for $3.3 billion in 2019, and Tilman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017.

The only other NBA franchise known to have sold for $2 billion or more was the Los Angeles Clippers, when Steve Ballmer acquired that team in 2014.

“I had a great call with my fellow Spartan Mat Ishbia congratulating him on his purchase of the Phoenix Suns,” Magic Johnson, another Michigan State alumnus, tweeted Tuesday. “He’s going to do great things not just for the Suns organization, but for the entire league. The other 29 NBA teams better watch out because Mat is a winner!

Justin Ishbia, Mat’s brother, will also be part of the ownership group, pending approval. Mat Ishbia will be the team governor, Justin the deputy governor.

Ishbia’s business is team-based, and he often talks about the lessons he learned while playing for Tom Izzo and with Mateen Cleaves at Michigan State. His company even has an intramural basketball program with a full court gym on site.

“This is not that complicated,” Ishbia recently told HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel for a profile, discussing his strategy with the crowd. “Get the best people to join your team, just like in sports. Train them, train them to be the best version of themselves, like Izzo used to do with us. And then treat them so well that they never want to leave.

Ishbia mat
Mat Ishbia, left, was a former Michigan State basketball player and a member of the Spartans’ 2000 NCAA championship team. Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

the nba Sarver suspended in September for one year, plus a $10 million fine, after an investigation found he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”

The league report’s findings came nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm to investigate allegations that Sarver had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents during his nearly two-decade tenure at the helm. of the franchise.

Soon after, Sarver Announced that he would be looking to sell the Suns and the Mercury.

Sarver bought the Suns in 2004 for $401 million, then an NBA record, and about 10 times less than the price Ishbia agreed to pay.

“Mat is the right leader to build on the franchise’s winning legacies and community support and guide the Suns and Mercury into the next era,” Sarver said. “As a former college basketball player and national champion, Mat has exactly the right spirit, commitment and resources to go after championships.”

Ishbia has previously been mentioned as a potential professional franchise buyer and is a prominent donor to the state of Michigan. He helped finance the $95 million deal the Spartans gave to football coach Mel Tucker last year. He played in 48 games for Izzo during his time as a guard at East Lansing.

Ishbia confirmed to the Associated Press in November his interest in buying the NFL’s Washington Commanders after owners Dan and Tanya Snyder hired a firm to explore potential transactions. It wasn’t immediately clear if the Suns purchase would get him out of the process with the Commanders.

“This is a dream come true for my entire family, including my parents, my three children and my brother Justin, who will make a significant investment with me and bring his incredible business acumen and shared passion for basketball,” said Ishbia. “I appreciate Robert Sarver’s time and support throughout the entire process. We are very honored to be, with the approval of the NBA, the next administrators of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.”

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