Everton’s owner, Farhad Moshiri, has held talks with a US consortium that could lead to a takeover of the club.
While negotiations are said to be at an early stage, the option of the Iranian-born billionaire giving up his control of Goodison Park now appears to be on the table.
It is understood that initial talks between Moshiri and a consortium led by former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon were about investment opportunities for the new £500m land, which is under construction at Bramley-Moor Dock. However, during those discussions, it became clear that there was potential for a more important deal and that was when the subject changed to complete the sale.
The consortium of interest is said to include Masek Kaminsky, CEO of Minneapolis-based Talon Real Estate, and American businessman and CEO of Barrick Gold, John Thornton. But it is understood that a number of other parties are watching developments and will be interested in the club if it becomes available for purchase.
Just last week, Moshiri wrote an open letter to his supporters when he said he is “committed to ensuring the future success of the club by offering a fully funded stadium that will cement our position as a leading club”. Sign his message to fans with the following words: “Your incredible support has never been taken for granted as we move forward together.”
However, with the huge cost of the new stadium – which Moshiri pledged in 2019 to make up for any funding shortfalls – and the club trying to put their finances in order after losses of more than £370m over the past three years, the owner appears to be more resilient.
Moshiri has spent more than £500m on players since buying the club for £220m in February 2016 and is said to want upwards of £500m to cede control of the club.
The club’s massive and ongoing losses could have put Everton in line for a penalty under profit and sustainability rules, but the club remains confident that, given the ripple effect of Covid-19, they will avoid any punishment and have been working with the Premier League since the end of last year to put things in order. It would be something any potential new owner would want to clarify and complete before they go ahead with any purchase.