Billionaire mortgage lender Mat Ishbia is finalizing a deal that would make him majority owner of the Suns, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Ishbia is president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage, the nation’s No. 1 overall mortgage lender, according to its website. He played college basketball at Michigan State.
Those Spartans teams advanced to three Final Fours and won the national championship in 2000. Ishbia then spent a year as an assistant under Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
He graduated from Michigan State’s business college in 2003, before leaving basketball to work for Wholesale Mortgage, founded by his father.
Current Suns owner Robert Sarver was suspended by the NBA following an investigation into workplace misconduct before the season, announcing in September his intentions to sell the franchise.
As we relayed here, Sarver is said to be seeking a buyer that would keep the Suns in Phoenix. Ishbia’s purchase price is believed to be around $4 billion, Wojnarowski reported. It would also involve ownership of the WNBA’s Mercury.
Nets owner Joe Tsai paid $3.3 billion to buy the team in 2019, which would make anything above that the highest price to buy a team in NBA history.
Later, Shams Charania of The Athletic wrote that Sarver has agreed “in principle” to sell the Suns to Ishbia for $4 billion.
Per the United Wholesale Mortgage website:
“At the end of 2019, Mat and his 4,700-person team set a new industry record with $107.7 billion in mortgage loan volume — the most volume by any wholesale lender in history — more than doubling its 2018 mortgage loan volume of $41.5 billion. He also released his first book that year, ‘Running the Corporate Offense: Lessons in Effective Leadership from the Bench to the Board Room,’ detailing how his experience on MSU’s basketball team helped influence his leadership style and company culture.”
Ishbia — a walk-on basketball player for Tom Izzo at Michigan State — has been pursuing several NBA and NFL teams in recent years, and now lands on a deal to purchase the Suns.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 20, 2022