|Born||1961 (age 53–54)|
real estate investor
|Known for||majority owner of the Phoenix Suns|
|Parent(s)||Irene and Jack Sarver|
Robert Sarver (born 1961 in Tucson, Arizona) is the majority owner of the National Basketball Association franchise Phoenix Suns. He bought the NBA franchise from Jerry Colangelo in the spring of 2004. He is also the owner of the Women's National Basketball Association franchise Phoenix Mercury.
Early life and education
Sarver was born to a Jewish family in Tucson, the son of Irene and Jack Sarver. His father was a prominent Tucson businessman, banker and hotel developer (the elder Sarver built the Aztec Inn, the Plaza International Hotel (now an Aloft Hotel) at Speedway and Campbell in Tucson in the early 1970s, built and operated the Tucson area Howard Johnson's locations, and headed a local savings and loan). Jack Sarver died of a heart attack in 1979; Robert Sarver would eventually donate to his alma mater, the University of Arizona, funds to its heart research center, which in 1998 was renamed the Sarver Heart Center in honor of his father. At age 16, he went to work for his father's company, American Savings and Loan. Sarver is a 1979 graduate of Sabino High School in Tucson and a 1982 graduate of the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in business administration. In 1983, Sarver became a certified public accountant.
In 1984, Sarver founded the National Bank of Tucson (which he expanded statewide and change the name to the National Bank of Arizona). In 1990, he co-founded the real estate company Southwest Value Partners with Millard Seldin. In 1994, he sold the National Bank of Arizona, then the largest independent bank in the state, to Zions Bancorporation. In 1995, Southwest Value Partners purchased the Emerald Plaza in San Diego. In 1995, he acquired Grossmont Bank, one of San Diego's largest community banks. Grossmont was also sold to Zions Bancorporation in 1997. In 2004, his jointly owned real estate firm, Southwest Value Partners, sold the Emerald Plaza and two other San Diego office buildings to Santa Ana real estate firm, Triple Net Properties, for $274.5 million. In 1998, he led Zions Bancorporation's acquisition of Sumitomo Bank of California. In 2003, he became chairman, president, and CEO of Western Alliance Bancorporation.
A lifelong sports fan, Sarver's quest to purchase an NBA team began with a conversation with University of Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson. Olson referred Sarver to Steve Kerr, a former player at Arizona and a 15-year NBA veteran, to assist him in buying an NBA franchise. In 2004, he purchased the Suns for a record $401 million
On the 8th January 2015, Robert Sarver offered £20 million for control of Scottish football side Rangers Football Club, having previously had a bid of £18 million turned down a couple of weeks earlier. The second offer was also rejected, and Sarver ended his pursuit to buy Rangers.
Sarver sits on the Board of Trustees of the Sarver Heart Center (Tucson), which he helped build in memory of his late father, who was among the first in an experimental group to undergo bypass surgery. The Sarver Center is affiliated with the University of Arizona and houses over 40 physicians and researchers dedicated to fighting heart disease.
- Arizona Jewish Post: "Wandering Jews: Former Tucsonans thrive in new locales – Robert Sarver" September 15, 2011
- Arizona Daily Star article on the former Plaza International Hotel, built by Robert Sarver's father
- Sarver Heart Center bio on Robert Sarver
- Tucson Citizen: "HAVING A BLAST" by Steve Rivera April 23, 2005
- Campbell, Joel (1997-07-08). "Zions to add San Diego bank and Oakland finance firm". Deseret News. Retrieved 2014-10-12.
- Southwest Value Partners: "Three Downtown Towers are Sold for $274 Million" June 17, 2004
- Wiles, Russ (2011-04-06). "Suns' Sarver is first and foremost a banker". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2014-10-12.
- University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center: "The Sarver Family" retrieved July 11, 2014