In a significant development for Premier League strugglers Everton, the club is reportedly on the brink of being sold to Miami-based investment firm 777 Partners. The financially-troubled Toffees have revived discussions with the American company after talks with MSP Sports Capital fell through in August.
The impending takeover is set to mark the conclusion of a turbulent ownership era led by Farhad Moshiri, who initially invested in the club back in 2016. Sources close to Moshiri have confirmed Everton’s prolonged quest for investment; however, it is important to note that the deal is yet to be finalized.
As of the current Premier League season, Everton finds itself in a precarious 18th place, having managed to secure just a single point from their opening four matches. The club has faced instability both on and off the pitch, narrowly escaping relegation in the previous two seasons, with their top-flight status retained by a hair’s breadth in the last term’s dramatic final-day victory.
In the coming month, Everton is slated to appear before an independent commission to address an alleged breach of the Premier League’s financial fair play regulations. The club has vociferously denied any wrongdoing and has asserted its readiness to vigorously defend its position.
Further exacerbating the club’s financial woes, Everton announced substantial financial losses in March, marking the fifth consecutive year of such losses, with cumulative figures exceeding £430 million over the past half-decade. Simultaneously, the club is undertaking the ambitious project of constructing a new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, with projected costs soaring to £760 million, a notable £260 million increase from figures reported by the club just a year ago.
When approached for comments on the ongoing takeover, both Everton and 777 Partners declined to provide statements to BBC Sport.
Notable Developments in Everton’s Recent History
In February, Farhad Moshiri assured the fans’ advisory board that Everton was “not for sale” while hinting at negotiations with “top investors of real quality.” However, Moshiri, a British-Iranian businessman, has injected more than £750 million into the club since 2016, a tenure that has elicited discontent among sections of the fanbase.
Disgruntled Toffees supporters staged protests before certain home games during the previous season, demanding Moshiri’s departure along with significant board changes. In response, Chief Executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Finance and Strategy Officer Grant Ingles, and Non-Executive Director Graeme Sharp have all relinquished their boardroom positions, although Chairman Bill Kenwright remains at the helm.
In its latest financial accounts, the club reported an annual turnover of £181 million, down from £193.1 million, partly due to suspending commercial sponsorship deals with Russian entities in March 2022. Notably, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, whose assets were frozen by the European Union following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, holds a 49% stake in USM Holdings, which sponsors Everton’s training ground. Moshiri, who chairs USM Holdings, injected £70 million into the club during the 2021-22 season.
About 777 Partners
Based in Miami, 777 Partners is an investment platform that has expanded its reach into the realm of sports clubs in recent years. The firm’s core mission revolves around providing growth capital to businesses, and it characterizes its foray into the sports market as a strategic “investment in the long game.”
777 Partners has already made investments in various football clubs worldwide, including Vasco de Gama in Brazil, Standard Liege in Belgium, and Hertha Berlin in Germany. However, these investments have not been without their share of controversy, with supporters of these clubs expressing dissatisfaction with the firm’s management practices.
In a noteworthy move, 777 acquired a 45% stake in the British Basketball League in 2021. Despite concerns about potential conflicts of interest, the firm maintains ownership of the London Lions, who emerged victorious in the league last season. In response to these concerns, 777 Partners has categorically denied any ongoing investigation into its ownership of the London Lions, dismissing such rumors as baseless.
The firm also holds a stake in La Liga side Sevilla, who secured the Europa League title in the previous season. Beyond sports, 777 Partners has diversified interests spanning insurance, aviation, media, and entertainment.
Should the impending takeover of Everton by 777 Partners come to fruition, it would signify that half of the 20 Premier League teams are under American ownership, highlighting the growing presence of American investors in English football.