Texas-based Friedkin Group enters exclusive talks for majority ownership of Premier League Everton

Fri, Jun 21, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Texas-based Friedkin Group enters exclusive talks for majority ownership of Premier League Everton

The Texas-based Friedkin Group is in exclusive discussions to buy a majority ownership of Everton, the Premier League club said Friday.

Friedkin Group includes Italian soccer team Roma in its portfolio of companies that cover the worlds of automotive, entertainment, hospitality, sports and adventure.

Everton said it had received "significant interest from several highly respected parties" to invest in the club.

"The club can confirm today that a period of exclusivity has been granted to The Friedkin Group to progress discussions to acquire a majority shareholding in Everton," it said in a statement.

The Friedkin Group's move comes after the proposed takeover by 777 Partners collapsed earlier this month.

The Miami-based private investment firm reached a deal in September to buy out Everton's majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, who has a 94.1% stake. But the deal failed to be completed before the deadline.

777 Partners, which owns soccer clubs in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Brazil, has faced mounting problems in both the business and sporting worlds.

The Friedkin Group's other companies include Gulf States Toyota, which Forbes said sold $9.1 billion worth of Toyotas in 2022.

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Its production company 30 West was behind the Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio movie Killers of the Flower Moon.

The group bought Roma for $700 million in 2020 and since then the club has gone on to win the Europa Conference League in 2022 and finish runner-up in the Europa League a year later.

Its portfolio also includes luxury hotels and resorts, golf clubs and adventure industries.

The Friedkin Group says it has a mission to "inspire best-in-class experiences that go beyond the ordinary."

Everton fans will hope that is true after a troubled period on the field and uncertainty over its ownership.

The nine-time English champion has battled relegation in each of the last three seasons and in its most recent accounts reported losses of $112.5 million.

Last season it received two separate points deductions for breaching the Premier League's financial rules, but still managed to secure its top-flight status for another year.

All of this has happened at a time when it is constructing a 52,888-capacity stadium, which it is due to move in to next year.

Everton was a founding member of the English Football League in 1888 and Premier League in 1992. During the 1980s it was one of English soccer's most successful teams, winning the league title twice, the FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup.

But it has not won a major trophy since the FA Cup in 1995 and has gone through a period of frequent managerial upheaval.

Struggles on the field have continued despite spending in the region of $800 million on transfers and having a series of high-profile managers, including Rafael Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti.

Moshiri initially bought 49.9% of Everton in 2016 and his stake has risen to 94.1%.

He said in September that he was selling because of "rapid changes in the nature of ownership and financing of top football clubs."

Moshiri said the sale would also secure financing to complete the new stadium.

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James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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