September 15 – Troubled Premier League club Everton, one of the sleeping giants of English football but punching well below their weight for years, are about to enter a new era after controversial majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri agreed to sell his 94% stake in the club to American investment fund 777 Partners.
The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year, subject to Premier League, Football Association and Financial Conduct Authority approval, and brings to end the tumultuous tenure of the British-Iranian.
The takeover by the Miami-based investment firm for a sum understood to be about £100-150 million means half of the 20 English top-flight clubs are now American-owned.
Moshiri, a long-time business partner of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, said in a statement: “The nature of ownership and financing of top football clubs has changed immeasurably since I first invested in Everton over seven years ago.
“The days of an owner/benefactor are seemingly out of reach for most, and the biggest clubs are now typically owned by well-resourced private equity firms, specialist sports investors or state-backed companies and funds.”
“I have spoken to a number of parties and considered some strong potential opportunities. However, it is through my lengthy discussions with 777 that I believe they are the best partners to take our great club forward, with all the benefits of their multi-club investment model.”
777 Partners’ have $12 billion in funds under management and in football have built their portfolio around a multi-club model that includes ownership stakes in Genoa, Standard Liege, Vasco da Gama, Red Star FC and Hertha Berlin.
The firm, who also have investments across other sectors such as aviation, are seeking to raise funds for the continued growth and development of their football operations.
Moshiri has pumped an estimated £750 million into Everton since 2016 without much effect on the pitch. In fact they are in disarray on and off the field.
Last season the club just avoided relegation and are struggling again this term. Next month they go before an independent commission for an alleged breach of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play rules, but Everton have denied wrongdoing and said they were “prepared to robustly defend” their position.
In a statement 777 founder Josh Wander said: “We are truly humbled by the opportunity to become part of the Everton family as custodians of the club, and consider it a privilege to be able to build on its proud heritage and values.”
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