Former Disney CEO Bob Iger, Amazon founder and ex-CEO Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder and past CEO Larry Ellison and Washington Wizards minority governor Laurene Powell Jobs (the widow of Apple co-founder and ex-CEO Steve Jobs) are expected to be interested in buying the Phoenix Suns and Mercury.
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that news Wednesday, the same day that Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver announced that he was beginning the process to sell both franchises.
Sarver's announcement comes after the NBA suspended him for one year and fined him $10 million following an investigation that concluded that he "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards." That behavior included the use of racial slurs as well as severe mistreatment of female employees.
The investigation followed a Nov. 2021 report from ESPN's Baxter Holmes that included allegations of racism and misogyny on Sarver's part since he bought the Suns and Mercury in 2004.
Forbes estimated that the Suns were worth $1.8 billion in Oct. 2021, ranking No. 18 among the 30 NBA franchises. The New York Knicks were No. 1 at $5.8 billion.
As Shelburne noted, Sarver has the option to sell his teams to whomever he wants.
The rumored names aren't short on money to buy the Suns and Mercury. Per Forbes, Bezos ($142 billion) and Larry Ellison ($94.4 billion) are fourth and sixth on the latest net-worth rankings. Bloomberg estimated Jobs' net worth at $13.6 billion.
Iger reportedly isn't in the billionaire club, but his net worth stood at $690 million in 2019, per Forbes.
The upcoming sale will mark the third time an NBA team has been sold this decade. The Utah Jazz sold for $1.66 billion in 2020, and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx sold for $1.5 billion in 2021.