Toffees Takeover: Everton Courts MSP Sports Capital
In a thrilling development straight out of the boardroom rather than the pitch, Everton, a venerable institution in the English football scene, is edging closer to securing investment from MSP Sports Capital, the New York-based firm known for its strategic investments in sports. As reported by BBC Sport, the parties have reached an exclusivity agreement, although the negotiations aren’t quite across the finish line yet.
Everton and MSP: A Deal in Progress
While the investment may still be in its finalisation phase, Everton is believed to have pushed MSP Sports Capital ahead of 777 Partners in a quest for new funding. Everton’s owner, Farhad Moshiri, seems to have found a potential partner who can complement his plans for the club’s future.
In the immediate term, the Toffees find themselves teetering precariously just above the Premier League’s relegation zone. With only one match left this season, the club’s fate may yet be decided by other teams’ results. Yet, in the midst of this on-pitch uncertainty, behind-the-scenes manoeuvres hint at long-term stability.
MSP’s interest, insiders suggest, revolves around securing a 25% stake, preferring a share structure that prioritises return through interest rather than direct equity in the club. Their bid leapfrogged 777 Partners, who, despite access to Everton’s financials, balked at the balance sheet’s significant debt.
Moshiri’s Everton: Influx and Outrage
Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s British-Iranian owner, has certainly not been shy in his investments, pumping more than £750m into the club since 2016. Despite this financial commitment, his tenure has not been universally celebrated by the Toffees’ faithful. Discontent among the fans has reached a point of protest before several home games, with calls for Moshiri and the board’s departure.
This need for investment is sharpened by the soaring costs of their new home, the Bramley Moore Dock stadium. Initially slated at £500m, estimates have shot up to £760m. This investment saga presents a stark contrast to Moshiri’s claims in February to the fans’ advisory board, stating that the club was “not for sale,” though he admitted to being in conversations with “top investors of real quality”.
Who are MSP?
If MSP Sports Capital successfully seals the deal, they are expected to want boardroom representation. Their track record includes investment in sports teams and businesses pursuing ambitious, challenging tasks. Their portfolio includes European clubs such as Brondby, Augsburg, and Estoril.
Jahm Najafi, the firm’s Iranian-American billionaire chairman, boasts an impressive sporting portfolio, including vice-chairmanship of McLaren and a minority stake in NBA’s Phoenix Suns. With a net worth valued at £2.9bn in 2021, his attendance at Everton’s home match against Southampton in January may have been more than just a casual visit.
As the dust settles on this investment intrigue, Everton and MSP Sports Capital seem poised to begin a new chapter. A careful dance of negotiation remains, with a final agreement hopefully providing both stability and success for this historic club.