According to The Athletic and ESPN, Mat Ishbia, the billionaire CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, is expected to purchase the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for a price of $4 billion. The Athletic also reported that Justin Ishbia, Mat’s brother, will be a part of the ownership group. The sale would end the tenure of embattled owner Robert Sarver, who announced in September that he would sell his take in both the Suns and the Mercury after being suspended for one year by the NBA due to the findings of an independent investigation into the teams’ workplace culture and Sarver’s conduct. In November 2021, ESPN published an investigation into the Suns’ workplace under Sarver’s watch, leading the NBA commissioning an investigation. Sarver purchased the Suns in 2004 for $401 million, at the time an NBA record.
Ishbia has a personal history in basketball, first as a walk-on for the Michigan State Spartans from 1999-2002, as well as winning a national championship in 2000. After graduating from MSU’s business school, he started working at the Michigan-based mortgage lending company UWM. In 2013 he was named CEO, succeeding his father, founder Jeff Ishbia. Ishbia was also part of a group that tried to purchase the Denver Broncos earlier this year, and he has also reportedly been interested in buying the Washington Commanders.
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