Michigan billionaire Mat Ishbia, President and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, is reportedly in the process of finalizing a deal to purchase the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for a total of $4 billion.
The current owner, Robert Sarver, recently agreed to sell the franchises following allegations of harassment and workplace misconduct. Ishbia, who played basketball at Michigan State University and was part of the 2000 national championship team, is also a major donor to the university, having reportedly given $14 million to secure a long-term contract for the head football coach.
The deal is expected to be completed in the near future and will require approval from the NBA’s board of governors. Ishbia’s brother Justin, a founding partner at Shore Capital, will also make a significant investment and act as an alternate governor. The sale of the Suns marks a new era of increasing valuations for NBA teams, following the Brooklyn Nets’ $2.35 billion sale in 2019 and the Houston Rockets’ $2.2 billion sale in 2017.