Billionaire Mat Ishbia strikes a deal for the Phoenix Suns and Mercury in a deal that will value the franchises at $4bn (£3.3bn).
“Both teams have an incredibly vibrant fan base. I loved experiencing the energy of the Valley,” Ishbia said.
The deal would be a record for an NBA team purchase.
Ishbia’s investment in a majority stake in the Suns and the WNBA, the Mercury, values the franchise at $4 billion, more than the $3.3 billion price tag Joe Tsai’s deal put on on the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center in 2019.
Ishbia played college basketball at Michigan State and was an fringe player in the team’s NCAA championship victory under longtime coach Tom Izzo in 2000.
“Basketball has been at the heart of my life, from my high school days as a player to the honor of playing for Coach Izzo and winning a national title at Michigan State University,” he said. -he adds.
Ishbia’s arrival in the sport was greeted by NBA great Magic Johnson, who also played for Michigan State, albeit in a different era.
“All the other 29 NBA teams better watch out because Mat is a winner!” Johnson wrote.
Ishbia said in November he was considering a bid to buy American Football’s Washington Commanders after losing in the bid for fellow NFL player Denver Broncos in August.
Current Phoenix owner Sarver has been fined $10 million and suspended from basketball for a year in September after an investigation into allegations of racism and misogyny found he had “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards”.
He announced that he was looking to sell the franchise shortly after, saying it was “the best course of action for everyone”.