NBA board of governors approves sale of Suns, Mercury to Mat Ishbia

The NBA Board of Governors has approved the sale of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA player Mercury to billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia, the NBA announced Monday night.

The transaction is expected to close on Tuesday, sources told ESPN.

Ishbia was confirmed as the Suns’ new governor by a 29-0 vote, league sources said, with the Cleveland Cavaliers abstaining.

The Cavaliers are owned by Dan Gilbert, the operator of Rocket Mortgage. Ishbia owns United Wholesale Mortgage. The two companies are considered the two largest mortgage lenders in America and have a fierce rivalry.

Ishbia is buying a 57 percent controlling stake for $2.28 billion, sources said, while Robert Sarver sold his 37 percent stake for $1.48 billion. Even after taxes, Sarver is expected to rake in nearly double what he and a group paid for the team in 2004 — a then-record $401 million from former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo.

Of the Suns’ nearly 20-strong ownership group under Sarver, there are only four minority partners who retain full ownership of the team, with their stakes accounting for nearly a quarter of the team. The rest of the ownership group sold 25% of their shares for $4 billion, the maximum amount allowed under the terms of the sale.

Ishbia’s approval comes as he is due to be unveiled by the Suns in Phoenix on Wednesday, sources said.

Sarver sold the team and the Phoenix Mercury after a 10-month NBA investigation into his conduct as owner. That investigation comes after a 2021 ESPN report that focused on Sarver’s behavior during his tenure as majority owner, which began in 2004.

Ishbia is stepping up to his post as Thursday’s NBA trade deadline nears, and the Suns are expected to aggressively help improve a roster that made the 2021 NBA Finals and 2021-22, the NBA’s best record in regular season before falling to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round. NBA board of governors approves sale of Suns, Mercury to Mat Ishbia

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