Originally created 04/24/04

Suns owners approve sale



PHOENIX -- The owners of the Phoenix Suns formally approved the sale of the team Friday to a group headed by real estate and banking executive Robert Sarver.

The $401 million sale faces final approval from the NBA Board of Governors but is expected to close June 30, the team said.

Former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Sean Elliott are among about a dozen others who will own a share of the team.

The transaction includes covering about $200 million in debt, with the remainder in cash.

Sarver is the chairman and chief executive of Western Alliance Bancorporation.

Jerry Colangelo, who owns 20 percent of the team, will sell his share but remain as the Suns' chairman and chief executive.