Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri’s commitment to the Merseyside club has been plunged into more doubt after it emerged he remains in takeover talks with American businessman Maciek Kaminski.
Kaminski was part of the consortium which failed to buy out Moshiri last summer. The American was previously working with former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon, investment banker Michael Klein and John Thornton, chair of US mining company Barrick Gold. Initial talks broke down after Kaminski and his business partners were granted a period of exclusivity to conclude a deal.
Now, the Kaminski family has split with those associates to press ahead with a £500 million takeover, and their summer offer is still on the table. However, sources close to the family and at Everton say that a deal is not imminent.
Discussions between Moshiri and Kaminski have been taking place since the consortium split up but the obstacles to a successful negotiation remain. Prospective buyers must not only prove they have the funds to meet Moshiri’s valuation of the club, but also commit to the £500 million stadium currently under construction on Liverpool’s dockside.
It is highly significant that Moshiri is still discussing a sale, as it directly contradicts the message he delivered to supporters in July, when he published an open letter claiming he was open only to giving up a “minority shareholding”.
“There is no ‘for sale’ sign currently hanging outside Everton Football Club,” Moshiri wrote on July 14. “I want to reassure all of you that Everton Football Club is not for sale. My commitment to the club remains strong and focused.”
Such mixed messages will reaffirm the image of Moshiri as a dysfunctional leader, and raise further suspicion about his motives for engaging in further talks with someone who is interested in a full buyout.
It is understood that Moshiri has been inviting interest from numerous parties, but as yet the cost of a takeover has proved to be prohibitive, with deals breaking down as buyers failed to provide proof of funds.
Moshiri’s financial position has been under scrutiny since Everton broke off ties with his business associate, Alisher Usmanov, in the wake of the clampdown on Russian oligarchs. Usmanov was among those sanctioned by the UK government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting Everton to suspend all formal ties with his organisations. That included the lucrative annual sponsorship of Everton’s Finch Farm training ground, and possible stadium naming rights.
Moshiri has always insisted his relationship with Usmanov would not materially impact his financial commitment to Everton. The timing of him entering takeover talks is, however, sure to raise eyebrows.
For his part, Kaminski may be calculating that the absence of a rival buyer will make his interest more attractive should Moshiri seek or need a way out of Goodison Park in the coming months. Despite his professed love and commitment to Everton, the Iranian-born majority shareholder has been a notable absentee at home games for the past few years.
In the summer, Kaminski – the chief executive of Talon Real Estate – visited the stadium construction site at Bramley-Moore Dock and committed funds as part of his offer.
He intended to complete a takeover before the end of the summer transfer window in order to assist manager Frank Lampard’s squad rebuilding efforts.