Negotiations around the coming sale of the Phoenix Suns are being complicated by the close relationship between two people on opposite sides of the bargaining table.
Controlling owner Robert Sarver is being advised by Moelis & Company banker Navid Mahmoodzadegan, who is reportedly close to Suns’ minority owner Jahm Najafi — who publicly called for Sarver’s ouster following a report of racist and sexist behavior.
- Mahmoodzadegan has also advised Najafi — which reportedly has potential buyers and their advisers concerned that the latter might influence the sale in favor of someone to his liking vs. the highest bidder or best fit.
- Sarver reportedly selected the bank because it is based in Los Angeles and that founder Ken Moelis and Mahmoodzadegan would personally work on the deal.
- Sarver isn’t concerned about the latter’s links to Najafi.
Moelis also advised on the $5.3 billion sale of Premier League club Chelsea to Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and Sparks co-owner Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.
Najafi also holds stakes in McLaren Racing and the X-Games.
The sale of the Suns could approach the NBA’s largest ever: Joseph Tsai’s $2.3 billion purchase of the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
The team was valued at $2.7 billion by Forbes in October, a 50% increase over the previous year.