Phoenix Suns likely to fetch record sale price for an NBA team, bankers say


As Robert Sarver prepares to sell the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, investment bank officials who have managed the sale of professional sports franchises told ESPN they expect the final price of the transaction to hit a record high. will settle.

“It will be the highest price ever paid for an NBA team,” said an investment bank official.

Joe Tsai bought the Brooklyn Nets for an NBA record $2.35 billion in 2019. Prior to that sale, Tilman Fertitta bought the Houston Rockets for $2.2 billion in 2017, and Steve Ballmer bought the LA Clippers for $2 billion. in 2014.

Factors influencing a potential record bid could include warm weather and proximity to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Bay Area of ​​the Suns, as well as the team’s new practice facility and renovated arena. Additional factors include a new television rights deal and an upcoming CBA, plus the NBA’s young and growing global audience and the potential for new expansion teams in Seattle and Las Vegas.

“There will be a huge amount of interest,” said an investment bank official.

Sarver has chosen investment bank Moelis & Company to oversee the sale, a source close to the situation confirmed to ESPN. Sportico reported Monday that Sarver had chosen the bank. A spokesperson for Moelis & Co. declined to comment.

Moelis was a financial advisor on the sale of Chelsea Football Club in May 2022 to a consortium led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, which bought the team for $5.3 billion. Moelis also acted as financial advisor on the 2015 sale of the Atlanta Hawks to a group led by Tony Ressler for $850 million.

In recent days, Suns executive vice president and CFO, Jim Pitman, has been relaying to team employees that a fully executed sale of the team could take six to nine months, team sources said. That timeline would extend to the 2022-23 season.

The Suns did not respond to a request for comment. The NBA declined to comment.

Investment bank officials have been in contact with Sarver on behalf of potential bidders, team sources said, including contact the day Sarver announced his intention to sell.

Once a final bidder is chosen, that individual — or group — must be approved by the NBA, which will conduct financial, personal, and criminal background checks. For a full transfer of ownership, the NBA Board of Governors will vote, with approval requiring a three-quarters majority.

Sarver, the majority owner of both the Suns and Mercury, announced on September 21 that he was seeking buyers for both franchises. That came in the wake of an NBA investigation into misconduct allegations by Sarver, who was banned for a year and fined $10 million.

The NBA ordered that investigation in response to a November 2021 ESPN story detailing allegations of racism and misogyny during Sarver’s 17 years as an owner.

Sun’s vice chairman and minority shareholder Sam Garvin is the team’s interim governor. Sarver owns about a third of the franchise, but he has the authority as the team’s managing partner to sell the team entirely.

Jerry Colangelo, who sold the team in 2004 to a group led by Sarver for a record $401 million, told ESPN that he is optimistic about the franchise’s future.

“I believe this — it’s one of the big markets in the country when it comes to the future,” Colangelo said. “It was once a great destination for free agents. There’s no reason it couldn’t continue.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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