Mortgage executive and former Michigan State guard Mat Ishbia is the new majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, after the NBA’s board of governors approved his plan to purchase the controlling stake of those franchises from Robert Sarver.
The league announced the approval Monday night, saying the transaction will be finalized later this week. The vote was 29-0, with the Cleveland Cavaliers abstaining.
The deal put the total value of the Suns and Mercury at $4 billion.
Mat Ishbia will be the Suns’ governor, brother Justin Ishbia will be alternate governor. They now can assume those roles just days before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, and with the Suns squarely in the middle of the Western Conference playoff race.
There are tentative plans to introduce Mat Ishbia on Wednesday at a news conference in Phoenix.
Mat Ishbia is the chairman, president and chief executive of United Wholesale Mortgage, which bills itself as the nation’s largest mortgage lender. He had to successfully complete a vetting process by the NBA before the transaction could be finalized, and then the league’s other owners cast their ballots for or against the move.
Forbes recently listed his net worth as just over $5 billion.
Ishbia played at Michigan State under coach Tom Izzo and was a member of the Spartans’ NCAA championship team in 2000.
The NBA suspended Sarver in September for one year, plus fined him $10 million, after an investigation found he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
The punishment came nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm to investigate allegations that Sarver had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents over his nearly two-decade tenure overseeing the franchise.
Source: NY Daily News, Detroit Free Press.
Photo Credit: Chris Coduto/Getty Images.