What is Robert Sarver's net worth?
Robert Sarver is an American sports team owner and businessman who has a net worth of $800 million. After earning a fortune by starting several banks, Robert Sarver became nationally known for owning the NBA's Phoenix Suns. In addition to overseeing the Suns, he is also on the Board of Trustees of the Sarver Heart Center in Tucson. In December 2022, Robert reached a deal to sell the Suns to a group of investors led by mortgage tycoon Mat Ishbia at a $4 billion valuation. Mat's billionaire brother Justin Ishbia was reportedly a financial backer behind the deal. At the time of the sale, Robert Sarver owned 35% of the suns, meaning his stake in the sale would be worth $1.4 billion pre-tax. It's very likely that Justin and Mat bought Sarver's stake alone for $1.4 billion. In other words, they did not buy the entire team for $4 billion.
Robert Gary Sarver was born in Tucson, Arizona, on October 31, 1961. His father was a successful businessman, banker, and hotel developer, and Robert went to work for his company, American Savings and Loan, at just 16 years old. Robert Sarver graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Business Administration. In 1983, he became a certified public accountant. When Robert was twenty three, he founded the National Bank of Arizona, formerly known as the National Bank of Tucson. He sold it 12 years later, after it had grown to become the largest independent bank in Arizona. A year later, he bought Grossmont Bank, the largest bank in the San Diego, California area.
A lifelong basketball fan, Robert purchased the Phoenix Suns with a group of investors in 2004 for $400 million. He owned 35% of the team at his peak of control. He also owns the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.
In 2016, Robert Sarver bought the Spanish second division football team RCD Mallorca for over $20 million.
His tenure as a team owner of the Suns has been met with harsh criticism for his "penny-pinching" ways with regards to his handling of the team and interventionist-style of ownership leading to instability and division within the organization.
2022 Suspension and Fine
In September of 2022, Robert Sarver was suspended by the NBA for one year and fined $10 million after an investigation found that he had used the "N-word" at least five times. In fairness, the report found that Sarver's usage occurred when he was "recounting the statements of others" and his usage was not motivated by racism. Sarver and other members of the front office were also accused of racist and misogynistic behavior in the report written by Baxter Holmes that was based on interviews of more than 70 former and current Phoenix Suns employees. He welcomed an investigation to clear up the allegations.
On September 21, 2022, Robert Sarver announced the beginning of the process to sell the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury basketball teams after star players including LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Draymond Green came forward saying his punishment was too lenient and PayPal threatened to not renew their sponsorship with the team if Sarver remained owner.
For months there were rumors of numerous parties who were apparently interested in buying the Suns. For example at one point Shaq and Jeff Bezos were reported to be the leading candidates. Then another report claimed Disney CEO Bob Iger was closing in on a deal. In December 2022, Robert reached a deal to sell the Suns to a group of investors led by Mat Ishbia for $4 billion.
Real Estate Fortune
Robert Sarver co-founded Southwest Value Partners with Millard Seldin in 1990, and in 1995 the company purchased the Emerald Plaza in San Diego. In 2004, Southwest Value Partners sold the Emerald Plaza and two San Diego office buildings to real estate firm Triple Net Properties for $274.5 million.
Robert Sarver married Kansas City, Missouri, native Penny Sanders in 1996. The couple lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona, and they have three sons together.