Robert Sarver is out as owner of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, but who’s in?
After being suspended for a year and fined $10-million by the NBA for numerous workplace violations (including racism and sexual harassment), Sarver announced that he would begin the process of selling both the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported the news on Wednesday, and it didn’t take long for a list of possible suitors to emerge.
At the top of that list are some pretty popular names, headlined by none other than former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is said to be $142-billion according to Forbes. That makes him the fourth-richest person in the world.
Behind him is Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, whose $94.4-billion is good enough for seventh on Forbes’ list. Also in the running are Laurene Powell Jobs and Bob Iger. The former is the minority governor of the Washington Wizards and the widow of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, while the later is the former CEO of Disney.
One year ago, Forbes had valued the Suns at $1.8-billion, which was good enough for 18th on their list. They were well behind the New York Knicks, who ranked first at a valuation of $5.8-billion.
Of course, the Suns have been an emerging team in the NBA, winning four playoff series over the last two seasons. And we have seen sports teams sell for well above their valuations in recent years. If Sarver can find enough buyers to bid against one another, he could see his sale of the Suns eclipse their $1.8-billion price tag by quite a large margin.