US investors’ pursuit of Europe’s historic football teams is accelerating, with Miami-based 777 Partners LLC closing in on a takeover of one of the founding fathers of the professional game in England.
(Bloomberg) — US investors’ pursuit of Europe’s historic football teams is accelerating, with Miami-based 777 Partners LLC closing in on a takeover of one of the founding fathers of the professional game in England.
777, co-led by Steven Pasko and Josh Wander, is close to an agreement to buy Everton FC following months of talks with the club’s owner, Farhad Moshiri, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.
Moshiri, who has put hundreds of millions of pounds into the underperforming team, is expected to exit with a fraction of the money he invested, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
A deal could be announced as soon as Tuesday. If consummated, the sale will bring the number of American-owned English Premier League teams to 10 out of 20. The parties are in the late stages of talks, and the deal could still fall apart. Moshiri’s legacy includes a partly complete, state-of-the-art stadium in the Bramley-Moore Dock area of Liverpool.
A spokesperson for Everton declined to comment.
US investors have been willing buyers across Europe’s five major football leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France in recent years — drawn by what they see as vast untapped revenue potential. A number of them have been pursuing a multiclub model of ownership in an effort to tap the long-term benefits of sharing talented players and more lucrative sponsorship deals.
777 has built a stable of historic football teams that stretches from Brazil to Belgium. It has had some successes, such as leading Genoa back into Italy’s Serie A after inheriting a team that was on its way to relegation. Wander says 777 has more than doubled squad value at Genoa while reducing squad costs there by 50%. Vasco da Gama in Brazil also won promotion last year, while Hertha Berlin has been relegated to Germany’s second tier.
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Everton was one of the founding members of English Football League in the 1880s and is one of just a handful of clubs that has never been relegated from the English Premier League — the world’s richest football division. But the club has narrowly avoided dropping out of the Premier League the past two seasons and has made an inauspicious start to the current campaign with only one draw and three losses.
Relegation from the Premier League to the Championship tier is costly. The broadcast fees fall from a minimum of £100 million ($125 million) a year in the top tier to less than £10 million, though relegated teams receive payments to soften the blow for a period of three years.
Moshiri was backed by his former business partner, the Russian Alisher Usmanov before he was sanctioned shortly after the invasion of Ukraine. The group acquired the team in 2016.
777 is being advised on the deal by Tifosy Capital & Advisory, the specialist sports business advisers, as well as on a possible capital raise.
Everton has also been negotiating with MSP, a sports investor, about a loan deal. MSP declined to comment.
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