Mat Ishbia, the financial services billionaire, has acquired a 57-per-cent stake in Phoenix Suns NBA team for USD2.28bn from current owner Robert Sarver. The deal was approved by the NBA’s board of governors this week and Ishbia was unveiled as the new owner at a press conference in Phoenix’s Footprint Center on Wednesday (8 February).
The transaction also includes the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. It puts the total value of the Suns and Mercury at USD4bn. Ishbia saw off an offer from Jack Selby, managing director of Thiel Capital, and Jason Pressman, managing director of Shasta Ventures, which would have valued the franchises at USD3bn.
Former college basketball player Ishbia made his fortune by turning a small mortgage company into the largest lender in the US – United Wholesale Mortgage. He has been actively targeting teams in both the NBA and American Football’s NFL in recent years.