Everton are set to be owned by US-based investment fund 777 Partners after Farhad Moshiri agreed a deal to sell his 94.1 percent stake in the Premier League club. The takeover, which still requires final ratification, will bring to an end five years of majority ownership by Moshiri that have proven to be turbulent and for the most part deeply unsuccessful on Merseyside.
Everton say they expect the deal to be finalised by the end of 2023. The Premier League, Football Association and Financial Conduct Authority must give it a green light. Neither party has confirmed the value of the deal. Should it be finalized then half of all clubs in the English top flight would have American owners.
Josh Wander, founder and managing partner of 777 Partners, who hold stakes in a string of clubs across the world, says the company 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."
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777 Partners are due to take control of Everton at a trying time for the club on and off the pitch. The Toffees are due to face an independent commission into their alleged breaches of the Premier League's Financial Fair Play rules, having made a loss in each of the past five years, a cumulative sum of £430 million. On the pitch they have flirted with relegation in each of the last two seasons and, despite an upswing in performances in the early weeks of 2023-24, Sean Dyche's side have just one point to their name from their first four matches.
A new stadium on Bramley-Moore dock, due to be completed in late 2024, offers some hope of a financial boost for Everton in the long term but over recent years costs have swelled. Moshiri said in January that expenditure on the project could eventually amount to £760 million, over 50 percent more than had initially been expected.
In a letter to shareholders, Moshiri said: "The last two transfer windows have shown that the days of an owner/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. In seeking investment, 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 firmly believe they are the best partners to take our great club forward with all the benefits of their multi-club investment model.
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"The last few years have not been easy for Evertonians - and I am one of you. It has been tough to watch our struggles on the pitch, yet the foundations for a brighter future have been laid. In the case of the new stadium, we have made incredible progress over the last two years. We remain on track and on budget. Going forward, Everton will play in a stadium that will be the envy of the Premier League and beyond. A stadium that's location will make it iconic throughout the game. A stadium that, most importantly, will give Everton a tremendous platform for growth and transform North Liverpool and the communities around it. I will forever be proud of what we have achieved."
New owners 777 Partners have built a significant interest in soccer clubs since investing in Europa League winners Sevilla in 2018. Among others, they own Italian club Genoa, Brazilian giants Vasco De Gama and Hertha Berlin, who were relegated from the German Bundesliga last season. Their tenure at those clubs has not been universally popular among supporters, most notably at Belgian side Standard Liege.
777 Partners have also been accused of fraud in a civil case brought by Timothy O'Neil-Dunne, who worked at 777 Partners between 2018 and 2021. The firm strenuously deny those allegations and have labelled a drug conviction against Wander, who was arrested in 2003 with 31 grams of cocaine, "ancient history" when contacted by Brazilian publication Globo.