Everton have agreed on a deal with 777 Partners, as the U.S. private equity firm is looking to taking over from Farhad Moshiri in a deal reports said was worth more than 550 million pounds ($1.06 Billion AUD).
Everton have no doubt been going into turmoil over recent years, between battling close relegation races twice, getting into Financial Fair Play trouble regarding their financial losses and struggling to pay for the new Bramley Moore Dock stadium in full before its completion in 2024.
After another slow start to the new Premier League season, it has left the club in a spot of bother regarding its ownership. Majority owner Farhad Moshiri has been publicly open to selling the club since the end of the 2022/23 season, claiming he could not keep up with the finances after the Everton annual financial report showed losses of over £430 million ($817 million AUD) over the last five years.
Founded in 2015, 777 Partners is an alternative investment platform that helps bold entrepreneurs transform visions into enduring value. The Miami-based company has subsequently branched out into sports club ownership with a vision to play a key part in football in the near future as mentioned on their website.
777 Partners have a number of clubs in its portfolio that have all been acquired over the last four seasons, including Italian side Genoa and Belgian team Standard Liege, while they also have stakes in Bundesliga 2 club Hertha Berlin and more recently A-League side Melbourne Victory.
However, even in their football ownership infancy, there has been major controversy surrounding their lack of investment into players for the clubs they own, as well as a general lack of care for on-pitch results which could spell major trouble for Everton.
Hertha Berlins recently held out banners in disgust for 777 after their shocking start to the Bundesliga 2 season, months after getting relegated from the first division under 777 owner Josh Wander with a dismal 29 points in 34 games, a club record low. The banners read ‘Josh Wander, the only thing we assure you of is our disapproval of you’. In early September, Standard Liege fans held demonstrations inside their ground with banners such as ‘No money, no ambition’.
Another issue that could play a major role in the success of this takeover is the owners’ and directors’ test that must be passed by all potential owners of premier league clubs. Co-founder Josh Wander was charged and arrested for cocaine trafficking in 2003 and only ended a long period of probation in 2018. Wander admitted in an interview on Sky Sports Italia that this charge would come under additional scrutiny for the owners’ and directors’ test and could be a big roadblock. There are also a number of legal claims against the company still outstanding.
The future looks increasingly bleak for Everton with the poor reputation and record 777 Partners has with its current clubs and this takeover may do more harm than good if that is even possible. Staring down a possibly first-ever Premier League relegation, this change might be better than sitting still under the failure of Moshiri and Kenwright, but there is a rightful lack of optimism surrounding a lot of the club at the moment, especially with the loyal fans.