Andy Kohlberg, the former co-owner of NBA basketball’s Phoenix Suns, is set to become the majority shareholder of Spanish soccer’s RCD Mallorca after acquiring the shares of former business partner Robert Sarver.
Kohlberg, Sarver, and former NBA player Steve Nash acquired a controlling share in the team, which plays in the top-tier LaLiga, in a deal worth more than $21 million in 2016.
The acquisition, expected to be complete by June 30, will see Kohlberg continue in his current role of club president, which he took over after first investing in the team in 2016. Nash, meanwhile, has retained his shares.
Alfonso Diaz will remain in his role as chief executive of business.
In a statement, Kohlberg, a former US tennis star, said: “RCD Mallorca has immense potential. Our goal is to continue to enhance the fans’ experiences through a state-of-the-art stadium integrated into the city and a highly competitive team.”
In a video posted on the club’s social media accounts, Kohlberg added: “We have an unwavering commitment to enhance fan engagement in partnership with the city to modernize our stadium while continuing our aspiration to be a top 10 club in all aspects of business and sports.”
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Since taking over, Sarver has invested more than €60 million into the club to professionalize its front office structure and improve the club’s standing in the league. The team finished ninth in LaLiga’s 2022-23 season – the club’s best finish since 2011-12.
The club’s home stadium, the Estadio Mallorca Son Moix is also currently undergoing renovation works to modernize the stadium and increase its capacity from 23,142 to 25,800. The works are due to be completed in 2024.
Sarver said: "My time at the club has been immensely rewarding. To think of our achievements, such as securing a position in La Liga, fills me with pride.
“We have made significant investments in the stadium and other areas of the club, always with the best interests of RCD Mallorca in mind. I extend my sincere thanks to the city, the fans, and the club's employees for their unwavering commitment and dedication."
The move comes six months after Sarver sold his majority stake in the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury to US billionaire Mat Ishbia for $4 billion after being suspended by the NBA for one year and fined $10 million after an investigation found he had engaged in “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
The findings came as part of investigations by the governing body into allegations of historic racist, misogynistic, and hostile incidents by Sarver over his nearly two-decade tenure at the franchise.
A month after the suspension and fine, Sarver announced he would be looking to sell the Suns and Mercury and appointed global financial advisory firm Moelis & Co. to handle the potential sale.
Along with Sarver, minority owners of the Suns before the sale included Kohlberg, Sam Garvin, and Jahm Najafi. Garvin retained his minority ownership after Ishbia’s takeover.