Dec 13, 2022 - Sports

Venture capital pair makes bid to buy Suns

Full court view of the Phoenix Suns playing the Los Angeles Lakers

The Phoenix Suns play the Los Angeles Lakers at Footprint Center. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A pair of venture capitalists have submitted an offer to buy the Phoenix Suns, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend.

Catch up quick: The NBA suspended Suns majority owner Robert Sarver in September in response to a report that found he'd used racial slurs, treated female employees unfairly and made sexually inappropriate comments, among other transgressions.

Driving the news: Jack Selby, the managing director at California-based investment firm Thiel Capital, and Jason Pressman, the managing director of the venture firm Shasta Ventures, also in California, offered to buy the Suns and Phoenix Mercury for $3 billion.

  • Selby is a longtime Arizona resident who launched a $110 million venture capital fund in October to invest in startups here.
  • The pair, along with others involved with the bid, met with executives and other leading figures from the Suns organization on Wednesday and toured the team's facilities.

Details: Pressman and Selby are putting together a group of about 10 people to help finance the deal.

  • It could include financing from Peter Thiel, PayPal cofounder and major financial backer of U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters' campaign. Thiel could become a significant shareholder in the Suns.
  • The Qatar Investment Authority is another potential financier.
  • Second-round bids are due in January, the WSJ reported.

Between the lines: Sarver is "exclusively in charge of the sale," Suns minority owner and interim governor Sam Garvin told The Arizona Republic in an interview published Monday.

  • "I think he really wants to find someone who loves Arizona, wants to keep (the Suns) in Arizona and is committed to the fans and is committed to the community," he said.

Of note: The Suns franchise is worth $2.7 billion, making it the 13th most valuable team in the NBA, according to Forbes' rankings from October.


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