The NBA's Phoenix Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury are being sold to Mat Ishbia, the billionaire CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, it was announced on Tuesday. The purchase price will be $4 billion, and the deal is pending NBA approval.
The sale effectively ends the tenure of embattled owner Robert Sarver, whothat he would sell his stake in both the Suns and the Mercury after being due to the findings of an independent investigation into the teams' workplace culture and Sarver's conduct.
Ishbia was part of a group that tried to purchase the Denver Broncos earlier this year, and he hasin buying the Washington Commanders, too. In basketball, though, Ishbia has a personal history: He was a walk-on for the Michigan State Spartans from 1999-2002, and won a national championship in 2000. After graduating from MSU's business school, he started working at UWM, and in 2013 he was named CEO, succeeding his father, Jeff Ishbia, who founded the Michigan-based mortgage lending company.
"I am extremely excited to be the next Governer of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury," Ishbia said in a statement. This is a dream come true for my entire family including my parents, my three children and my brother Justin, who will be making a significant investment with me and bringing his incredible business acumen and shared passion for basketball. I appreciate Robert Sarver's time and support throughout the process. We are so honored to be, with approval by the NBA, the next stewards of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury."
Sarver owned the Suns for 18 years, He purchased the franchise in 2004 for a then-record of $401 million.
In November 2021, ESPN published an investigation into the Suns' workplace under Sarver's watch, which included that Sarver had said the N-word on multiple occasions and made misogynistic comments in meetings. The story led to the NBA commissioning an investigation. When the league announced Sarver's one-year suspension, players including LeBron James and the Suns' Chris Paul .