Mortgage tycoon looks to acquire control from owner Robert Sarver
United Wholesale Mortgage chief executive Mat Ishbia has agreed to buy the majority stake of the Phoenix Suns, and the WNBA’s Mercury for a whopping $4 billion, Ishbia and current owner Robert Sarver announced Tuesday.
Ishbia, chairman and CEO of the No. 1 residential lender in the US, and his brother Justin will acquire more than 50% ownership of the teams, including all of Saver’s interest plus a portion of that of minority partners. Mat will serve as governor, and Justin will be the alternate governor.
While the deal is pending approval from the board of directors, Ishbia said: “I am extremely excited to be the next governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. Both teams have an incredibly dynamic fan base, and I have loved experiencing the energy of the Valley over the last few months.”
Ishbia is a former walk-on Michigan State basketball player on the 2000 national championship-winning team. In 2021, he sponsored 133 student-athletes on MSU’s basketball and football teams and donated a separate $32 million to the university’s athletic program – the largest single cash commitment MSU had ever received from an individual.
“Basketball is at the core 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,” Ishbia said. “I’ve spent the last two decades building my mortgage business, United Wholesale Mortgage, into the number one mortgage lender in America, and I’m confident that we can bring that same level of success to these great organizations on and off the floor. This is a dream come true for my entire family, including my parents, my three children, and my brother Justin, who will be making a significant investment with me and bringing his incredible business acumen and shared passion for basketball.”
“Mat is the right leader to build on franchise legacies of winning and community support and shepherd the Suns and Mercury into the next era,” said Sarver, who acquired control of the franchises in 2004. “As a former collegiate basketball player and national champion, Mat has exactly the right spirit, commitment and resources to pursue championships. Equally important, though, is his philanthropic outlook and commitment to using sports as a way to elevate and connect people. I know he shares my unwavering support for women’s basketball, and I look forward to watching him become a unifying force across the Valley of the Sun.”
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