Desperate Moshiri holds urgent talks with cash-strapped 777 Partners over Everton sale

May 9 – Everton majority owner Farhad Moshiri has held emergency meetings with prospective buyer 777 Partners to determine whether their agreed £500 million+ takeover will go-ahead, according to media reports.

Moshiri, who is desperate to exit his Everton ownership, agreed to sell his 94% stake to 777 Partners eight months ago in a deal that was expected to close by Christmas.

Doubts existed over whether 777 Partners could finance the deal alongside a host of other financial commitments in its football portfolio. However, the Miami-based investment firm has already loaned Everton £200 million.

The fear that the deal would not complete has led Moshiri to instruct insolvency specialists Teneo to take the club back to market.

777 Partners’ difficulties were compounded last week with news of a lawsuit filed in a federal court in New York.

777 owes more than $600 million to two London-based asset management companies, Leadenhall Capital and Leadenhall Life. The two London companies allege that 777 Partners used $350 million of assets that either were not controlled by the Miami-based firm or which “did not exist”.

The filing alleges that: “To induce Leadenhall to fund their operation, (Josh) Wander (777 Partners co-owner), along with his group of alter ego entities, “pledged” over $350 million in assets as collateral to Leadenhall, knowing all along that the assets either did not exist, were not actually owned by Wander’s entities, or had already been pledged to another lender.”

The hits have just kept coming for 777 Partners which either owns or has stakes in Genoa in Italy, Standard Liege in Belgium, Red Star FC in France, Vasco de Gama in Brazil and Herta BSC in Germany.

On Monday Belgian press reported Standard Liege’s players had not been paid for April and would not receive payment until the end of the season. Fans at Red Star have called for 777 Partners to exit the club, while Vasco da Gama claim that 777 Partners have not paid the final instalment on their acquisition.

None of this is positive for Everton who were seeking another £16 million loan from 777 Partners to see them through to the end of the season.

While 777 Partners don’t have the money to complete the deal, New York investment firm MSP Sports Partners, who have loaned £158 million to 777, could be in a position to take control of the club.

777 Partners have struggled to get through the Premier League’s Owners and Directors test, and has made one its conditions that 777 Partners repays the loan to MSP.

The Premier League also wants 777 to convert the £200 million of 777’s loans to Everton into equity, make available £60 million to enable Everton to complete the season, as well as fund about £100 million for the completion of the club’s new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.

Yesterday the Everton Shareholders’ Association (EFCSA) demanded Moshiri ended the “farce” of the negotiations with 777 Partners.

“We have observed with concern and frustration as it became increasingly clear that a fit-for-purpose process cannot possibly take this long as the Premier League continues to demonstrate their inability to regulate,” said the EFCSA in a statement.

“In the absence of the Premier League making a timely decision we insist that the Everton board and Farhad Moshiri in particular, stop this damaging process now and recognise that 777 Partners are not at this time fit and proper prospective owners of Everton Football Club.”

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