Everton takeover: Miami-based 777 Partners close to agreeing full takeover of Premier League club – Sky Sports

Miami-based 777 Partners close to agreeing a deal to take over Everton; multi-club investors have been in discussions with Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri since talks collapsed with MSP Sports Capital last month; 777 are involved with Sevilla, Hertha Berlin and Standard Liege
Tuesday 12 September 2023 16:51, UK
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Miami-based 777 Partners are close to agreeing a deal to take over Everton.
The multi-club investors have been in discussions with Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri since the news that New York group MSP Sports Capital had ended its exclusivity agreement with Moshiri.
The group 777 already have a number of football clubs in their portfolio including Sevilla, Genoa, Hertha Berlin and Standard Liege, with the fans of the Belgian side holding a demonstration criticising their involvement at their last game.
The move by 777 would be a full takeover, once all the Premier League requirements are met, which could take several months to complete.
In February, Moshiri told Everton’s fans’ advisory board the club was “not for sale” but it appears the British-Iranian businessman is now willing to sell the club.
Despite investing more than £750m since 2016, some Everton supporters have been unhappy about his ownership.
They held protests before some games at Goodison Park last season calling for Moshiri and the board to leave.
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Everton are winless in the current Premier League season having taken just one point from their opening four games leaving them in 18th in the table.
Sean Dyche’s side return from the international break with a home game against Arsenal on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Sky Sports News reporter Alan Myers:
“All the indications are that it’s very close but it’s been in the pipeline for quite some time and Everton fans will want this thing sorted as soon as possible.
“First of all, we had a company called MSP Sports Capital who were New York based and looked like they were coming in to invest in the club mainly from a debt financing point of view and also to help with the completion of the new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock.
“Then we heard last month that their exclusivity agreement with Farhad Moshiri, the majority shareholder had ended, which meant they were out of the picture as far as a takeover of the club was concerned. We understand they still have some involvement with regards to the stadium.
“But 777 partners have been talking to the Everton majority shareholder for quite some time now but we’ve also heard an Asian group was interested as well. We’ve not heard too much about them – they didn’t really want the publicity apparently.
“But now we hear that 777 is very much on the cusp of of an agreement with Moshiri to make a take over of the club, but we are still some way down the road with maybe a few months before anything really gets done and finalised.”
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Football finance expert Kieran Maguire speaking to Sky Sports News:
Is this good news for Everton?
“If it brings stability to Everton then I think that could be seen as a positive step.
“There have been a number of issues with regards to the funding of the club. Farhad Moshiri has probably put in around about £700m and hasn’t had a return either on or off the pitch, and there’s outstanding issues with regards to the continued funding of the new stadium.
“It’s trying to work out 777’s motives because this would be by far their biggest investment in football. They’ve not been successful historically and they do specialise in buying clubs who tend to be in a form of financial distress.”
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What’s next in the process?
“The issues the Premier League will be concerned with is, first of all, can 777 demonstrate that they have the money, and can they also prove where that money has come from?
“For a relatively new organisation, it’s got around about $12bn worth of assets, so it can certainly afford to buy Everton.
“But I think the Premier League will be trying to pull back the curtain to see where the funding has come from, because it’s not made money historically from the football clubs under its control.”
Why do they want to buy Everton?
“If you listen to Josh Wanda, who is one of the leading people at 777, they believe that football doesn’t organise and doesn’t market itself very well.
“He says we should be buying insurance and buying our cars through our football club because you’ve got that degree of loyalty, so trying to monetise the fans instead of just buying merchandise and season tickets.
“Can we use the football club brand as a means of generating more money? Can we turn the new stadium into a 365-day-a-year stadium in terms of generating revenue? I think that will be their focus.
“Some of the traditional fans will be saying, ‘Well hold on, those aren’t necessarily the values with which we hold Everton so high, and we don’t see it as a money-making vehicle; it’s important part of our lives and it represents the city and where we come from’.”
Should Everton fans be worried?
“Are 777 partners Evertonians? No, they’re not. They’re in it from a business perspective and therefore for any business investment you’re looking for a return on your investment.
“If they bring in improved standards with regards to player recruitment, and that’s reflected on the pitch, then they’ll probably be looking to sell it and flip it in a few years’ time at a profit with Everton as an established club in the top half of the Premier League, and under those circumstances, it would be worth a lot more money.
“They’re not necessarily interested in taking over clubs which have been successful and therefore come at a premium price. The chances are that because of some of the financial challenges that are in front of Everton, they’ll be looking to buy the club at a discounted price. They’ll be looking to change things as far as the way that the club is run with a view to having a turn around and being successful as a football club and, in turn, that of course will generate additional income and profits from their point of view.
“Clearly they’ve got to prove themselves with regards to that and if you take a look at the portfolio of other clubs that they own, they’ve not demonstrated that they can turn what is big talk into actual results on the pitch.”
What is 777’s model?
“They tend to be more of a private fund rather than using a leverage buy-out style that we’ve seen at Manchester United. But given that they have $12bn worth of assets, there will be a combination of both borrowing and equity.
“But as far as borrowing money is concerned, they should be able to borrow at relatively cheap rates given the size of the company and that’s not necessarily been the case with Moshiri’s experience recently with regards to the loans from rights and media funding limited and MSP.”
Does this mean Dyche will have money to spend going forward?
“That’s as much determined by Financial Fair Play challenges as the money they have available. 777 in theory can go to their partners and additional cash but being able to spend it is Everton’s biggest challenge.
“They have been moving costs off the payroll. If you take a look at Everton over the course of the last three years, they’ve averaged 90 per cent of their revenue on wages which means that they are up for a lot of challenges when it comes to compliance with FFP.”
How will Moshiri be remembered?
“Based on the numbers that I’ve been looking at, I think we’re probably not very short of £700m in the form of loans and in the form of equity. He has underwritten huge losses at the club.
“He came in with good intentions. He wanted Everton to be successful and he gave a a succession of senior executives and managers the opportunity to spend money.
“I think you’ve got to query just how well that money is being spent and it’s very much sort of a qualitative challenge that Everton have had rather than the quantitative one. He has put the money in but I don’t think it’s been particularly well managed after he’s done his part of the agreement.”
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