Mat Ishbia, chairman and chief executive officer at United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), provided more than half of the mortgage company’s outstanding shares as a guarantee to secure loans ahead of the acquisition of the Phoenix Suns, according to a Bloomberg report.
According to the report, Ishbia pledged stock he controls to back two loans that were finalized days before his purchase of the Suns was approved. The deal, which values the Suns at $4 billion, first became public in December. The executive received the NBA blessing in February.
In total, 805 million shares, currently worth $4.6 billion, secured two loans with JP Morgan Chase & Co. Ishbia holds his UWM stake via SFS Holding Corp., which owns 94% of UWM’s outstanding stock and pledged the shares, per the firm’s 2023 proxy statements.
“The number of shares of Class A common stock beneficially owned by SFS Corp. also includes a total 805,281,450 shares of Class A common stock which are pledged as security for two separate loan facilities,” the proxy statement states.
The risk of tying up the shares to the loans is that if the value of the stock falls, the bank can usually request additional collateral or for the loan to be repaid. And if the borrower fails to comply, the bank can seize and sell the shares.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index shows Ishbia’s fortune dropped by $3.4 billion after the pledged shares were removed from his net worth calculation.
UWM and JP Morgan Chase declined to comment on the topic.
The seller of the Suns Legacy Holdings, which owns the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, was Robert Sarver. The executive acquired both teams in 2004. Earlier in 2022, Sarver was fined $10 million and suspended for one year following an NBA investigation regarding workplace conduct.
Ishbia and his brother Justin bought 50% ownership of the franchises, including Sarver’s interest. They also acquired a portion of the interest of minority partners, who were granted additional sale rights. Mat serves as governor and Justin as alternate governor.