US-based private equity firm 777 Partners has today (September 15) completed a deal to acquire English soccer club Everton.
The company has signed an agreement with owner Farhad Moshiri to purchase his 94.1% stake in the Premier League club.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023 and remains subject to regulatory approval, including from the Premier League, the Football Association, and the Financial Conduct Authority.
In a statement, Moshiri said: “The nature of ownership and financing of top football clubs has changed immeasurably since I first invested in Everton over seven years ago. The days of an owner or benefactor are seemingly out of reach for most, and the biggest clubs are now typically owned by well-resourced private equity firms, specialist sports investors, or state-backed companies and funds.
“I have been open about the need to bring in new investment and complete the financing for our new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, which I have predominantly financed to date. I have spoken to a number of parties and considered some strong potential opportunities. However, it is through my lengthy discussions with 777 that I believe they are the best partners to take our great club forward, with all the benefits of their multi-club investment model.
"As a result of this agreement, we have an experienced and well-connected investor in football clubs who will help maximize the commercial opportunities, and we have secured the complete financing for our new stadium, which will be the critical element in the future success of Everton. Today is an important next step in the successful development of Everton.”
Everton resumed takeover talks with 777 after a proposed investment deal with MSP Sports Capital fell through last month (August).
It was initially reported in May that 777 was close to completing a deal to purchase the team for £600 million ($752.1 million). However, despite being given access to the team’s financial accounts, that agreement collapsed as the firm was not prepared to pay a 'significant' price due to the debt on the balance sheet, which stood at £141.7 million in the latest accounts.
This allowed MSP Sports Capital to return and had reportedly reached an exclusivity agreement with the Liverpool-based outfit over a funding deal. But the two parties were unable to conclude the deal and talks ultimately broke down.
After resuming discussions, Miami-based 777 has now finalized the takeover to bring an end to Moshiri’s tumultuous reign.
Everton posted financial losses for a fifth successive year, with their losses totaling more than £430 million over that period.
Since taking control in 2016, Moshiri pumped more than £750 million into the Premier League outfit but a large section of the club’s fans were unhappy with his ownership.
The British-Iranian businessman and his fellow board members were unable to attend home matches at Goodison Park in the final months of the 2022-23 season because of unrest among the fans amid a relegation battle for a second successive year.
Everton have failed to win any of their four games to start the new season, with just one point from those matches.
The club desperately required funding for their new stadium, which was initially under construction at a cost of at least £550 million but has increased to about £760 million.
Next month (October), Everton will go before an independent commission for an alleged breach of the Premier League's financial fair play rules.
777 has developed a vast portfolio of soccer clubs around the world with Germany’s Hertha Berlin becoming the most recent addition in March.
The group’s multi-club network also includes Italy’s Genoa, Brazil’s Vasco da Gama, Belgium’s Standard Liège, France’s Red Star, Spain’s Sevilla, and Australia’s Melbourne Victory.
The private equity group, which has made targeting undervalued global soccer assets a key component in its development strategy since 2015, also has investments in streaming platform Fanatiz, Chilean agency 1190 Sports, women’s soccer company Ata Football, and a 45% stake in the British Basketball League.
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 build on its proud heritage and values.
“Our primary objective is to work with fans and stakeholders to develop the sporting and commercial infrastructure for the men’s and women’s teams that will deliver results for future generations of Everton supporters.
“As part of this, we are committed to partnering with the local community over the long-term, working on important projects such as the development of Bramley-Moore Dock as a world-class stadium venue, allowing thousands more Evertonians to attend our home matches and contribute to the economic and cultural regeneration of Merseyside.”