Purchase Of Phoenix Suns Being Finalized: Report
By Jason Hall
December 20, 2022
Billionaire Mat Ishbia is reportedly finalizing a purchase of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, sources with knowledge of the negotiations told The Athletic's Shams Charania on Tuesday (December 20).
Ishbia, a former Michigan State University walk-on basketball player who was part of the Spartans' national championship team in 2000, is the CEO and chairman of United Wholesale Mortgage and has a net worth estimated at $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.
The sale comes three months after disgraced owner Robert Sarver announced he'd already begun the process to sell the Suns and Mercury amid his recent yearlong suspension.
"Sources: Billionaire Mat Ishbia is purchasing the Phoenix Suns and Mercury for $4 billion," Charania tweeted. "Robert Sarver has agreed in principle to sell. Ishbia was a national champion on Michigan State‘s basketball team in 2000."
Sources: Billionaire Mat Ishbia is purchasing the Phoenix Suns and Mercury for $4 billion. Robert Sarver has agreed in principle to sell. Ishbia was a national champion on Michigan State‘s basketball team in 2000.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 20, 2022
Sarver was suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the National Basketball Association for engaging "in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards as reflected in team and League rules and policies," the league announced in a news release shared on September 13.
The NBA today issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/jjlBK771PT— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) September 13, 2022
The NBA citied a November 2021 ESPN.com article that detailed Sarver's statements and conduct alleging racism and misogyny during his tenure as the Suns' owner, which led to an independent investigation by the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz commissioned by the league.
"The report of the independent investigation, which was issued publicly today, was based on information gathered from interviews with 320 individuals, including current and former employees who worked for the teams during Mr. Sarver's 18-year tenure as Managing Partner, Mr. Sarver, and other releveant individuals; and from the evaluation of more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos," the news release stated. "Mr. Sarver and the Suns/Mercury organization cooperated fully with the investigative process.
"As stated in the report, the independent investigation found that Mr. Sarver "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying."
Sarver was banned from being around any NBA or WNBA facility -- which includes team offices -- as well as attending any NBA or WNBA event or representing the Suns or Mercury publicly or privately during his yearlong suspension.