Hibs given SFA greenlight to take new investment cash from Foley

February 1 – Scottish Premier Leagues side Hibernian have had permission granted by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) board to bring on Bournemouth’s billionaire US owner Bill Foley as a minority investor.

Foley, through his Black Knight group, is believed to be paying an initial £6 million for a 25% stake in Hibs.

Approval for the investment came after SFA said that it was giving a dispensation to its ‘dual interest’ rules as long as the investment did not exceed 29.9%.

Foley is buying his share from the family of late chairman Ron Gordon, though it has been emphasised the Gordon family will remain in control of the club.

The new money is seen as giving the club the financial strength to compete at the top of the SPL and achieve regular European club competition qualification.

Foley, who has an estimated to have a net worth of $1.6 billion through his Fidelity National Finance insurance business, has been building a network of clubs.

He acquired Bournemouth at the end of 2022 for about £120 million at a time when they looked destined for relegation. He owns 30% of Ligue 1 side Lorient and is understood to be in negotiation for a club in the Netherlands.

Last November he bought the franchise for a new Australian A League club to be based in Auckland, new Zealand. He is also said to be in the running for a new MLS franchise to be awarded to Las Vegas, where he established NHL team Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 having paid $500 million for the franchise. The Knights won the Stanley Cup in 2023.

Hibs said in a statement: “Hibernian FC is delighted to confirm that the Scottish FA has approved the club’s ‘dual interest dispensation request’ that sits under Article 13. This decision came after a number of meetings between the two parties, alongside the club agreeing to certain undertakings and commitments at the request of the governing body.

“The club now has an agreement in principle with Black Knight Football Club for minority investment into Hibernian FC. The investment proposal will now be shared and ratified at the club’s Annual General Meeting, which will occur in February.”

Foley has previously talked about his fascination with Scottish football, saying: “They play hard, Scots are tough. They play a tough brand of football. And I believe there are opportunities to make one of the number four, five or six SPL [Scottish Premiership] teams, to get them to number three and they play in Europe.

“I believe we can pull that off with not a gigantic investment – and be a minority investor, be supportive of that club, and then work on sponsorship together because we have a whole sponsorship team.”

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