US investors linked with Sheffield United takeover ‘agree’ deal to buy Premier League rivals Everton
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US investors 777 Partners, who were linked with a potential takeover of Sheffield United following their promotion to the Premier League earlier this year, are reportedly close to a deal to buy their Premier League relegation rivals Everton instead. Reports by Bloomberg and the Daily Telegraph suggest that an agreement could be announced this week.
Based in Miami and holding offices in New York and London, 777 already hold stakes in a number of other clubs including Genoa, Standard Liege, Vasco de Gama and Sevilla and showed their intentions to acquire an English club by previously holding talks with Goodison Park officials, before negotiations collapsed. The group are also understood to have looked at bidding for West Ham but were said to have viewed the Blades as an attractive proposition, given their Premier League status and owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s willingness to sell.
But the talk did not come to fruition and 777 instead revisited their interest in Everton, with advanced negotiations underway over a sale which would end Farhad Moshiri’s era as majority shareholder. Moshiri has been seeking additional investment for several months, with Everton’s cumulative losses over the past five years recorded at more than £430million. Moshiri had been negotiating with another group, MSP Sports Capital, to invest up to £150m in convertible debt that would have been converted into a 25 per cent stake in the Toffees, before that deal collapsed and MSP walked away.
Speaking to the Financial Times last month, 777’s co-founder and joint managing partner Josh Wander said: “We have a strong view that there’s a new wave of commercialisation coming to football. Football clubs have done a horrible job of commercialising the product. It’s so absurd to me that people say we’re not serious when we bought [into] seven clubs in the last 18 months.
“Is there anyone in the world that’s been more serious about buying football clubs in history than Josh Wander? The vision for this football group is that one day we’re not selling hot dogs and beers to our customers; we’re selling insurance or financial services or whatever.”
United were the subject of interest from a number of parties based in North America since it was effectively put up for sale by Prince Abdullah. Despite seeing deals with American businessman Henry Mauriss and Nigerian Dozy Mmobuosi fail, United remain in discussions with prospective new owners - although chief executive Stephen Bettis admitted last week that progress is “not moving quickly”.
“There are a few interested parties and due diligence has been done and continues to be done [on prospective owners],” Bettis added. “Discussions are ongoing about their intentions for the club and how they’re going to move it forward to make sure they’re happy with what they’re doing. Until all of those things are satisfied, nothing changes.”