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English soccer club Everton to be bought by American investment firm 777 Partners

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — American investors aren’t getting enough of the Premier League.

Everton is the latest English football team to come under American ownership after Miami-based private investment firm 777 Partners reached a deal to buy out majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

Josh Wander, Founder and Managing Partner of 777 Partners, 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 carry on its proud heritage and values ” said in a statement on Friday.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are all under American ownership, with varying degrees of success. Others on the list for the 20-team division are Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Burnley and Bournemouth.

Even Abu Dhabi-backed Manchester City has an American minority owner, with California-based private equity firm Silverlake taking an 18% stake.

American interest in the Premier League was highlighted by the sale of Chelsea last year when Todd Boelhi and Clearlake Capital fought off several US-based competitors to buy the two-time Champions League winner.

Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca, New York Jets co-owner Woody Johnson and a consortium that now includes Washington Commanders co-owner Josh Harris were all trying to buy the London club, ultimately for £2.5 billion ( $3 billion). ,

However, there has not been the same interest since Man United owners the Glazer family put the club on the market last November. The only public bid for United has come from Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe – with US interest in the 20-time English champions perhaps tempered by the Glazers’ reported asking price of around $6 billion. Has been.

The Premier League’s global broadcast revenues, worth billions of dollars, as well as packed stadiums make it an attractive prospect for investors.

Everton did not disclose how much 777 Partners would pay for its 94.1-percent stake in the club and any sale would need to be approved by the league. 777 Partners said the transaction is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Everton fans will be hoping the change in ownership will bring a change in fortunes after years of turmoil and disappointment.

Everton was a founding member of the English Football League in 1888 and the Premier League in 1992. It has won nine league championships, five FA Cups and one European Cup Winners’ Cup, but has not won a major trophy since the FA Cup in 1995.

Moshiri bought an initial 49.9% stake in the club in 2016, but despite transfer spending of around $800 million and a revolving door of coaching appointments, Everton have since faced repeated battles to avoid relegation.

Frank Lampard became the sixth manager sacked under Moshiri after the former Chelsea great was let go last season and replaced by Sean Dyche.

Everton avoided relegation on the final day of the season, preventing the team from being relegated from the top division for the first time since 1951.

The team has lost three of its four league matches so far this season and drawn one, pointing to another year of struggles.

Moshiri stated that his decision to sell was due to “rapid changes in the nature of ownership and financing of top football clubs”.

“The last two transfer windows have shown that the days of the owner/benefactor are out of reach for most and the biggest clubs are now usually owned by well-resourced PE (private equity) firms, specialist sports investors or state-backed companies. Are owned and funded,” he said.

Everton were sponsored by companies related to Moshiri’s longtime business partner, Russian metal tycoon Alisher Usmanov. The club said last year that it had suspended agreements with his companies USM, Megafon and Yota. The European Union had imposed sanctions on Usmanov after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Moshiri said the sale would also secure financing to complete the 52,888-capacity stadium that is currently under construction.

“Moving forward, Everton will play in a stadium that will be the envy of the Premier League and beyond,” Moshiri said.

777 Partners already has stakes in several football teams through its 777 Football Group, of which Everton will become part.

The firm completed the acquisition of Hertha Berlin’s majority stake in March. Its other clubs include Europa League champion Sevilla, Italian club Genoa, Brazilian team Vasco da Gama, Belgian club Standard Liège, French team Red Star FC and Australian team Melbourne Victory.


James Robson is https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson


AP Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

James Robson, The Associated Press


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