Everton takeover in added time after 777 gets extension to repay £160m loan

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Everton;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Everton</a>’s takeover saga with 777 has been going on for more than seven months. </span><span>Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA</span>

The proposed takeover of Everton has moved into added time after the bidder 777 Partners was granted a last-minute extension to repay a £160m loan.

The latest missed deadline drags the takeover saga past the seven-month mark since Farhad Moshiri agreed to sell his shareholding in the Premier League club to 777, an American investment firm that has faced months of scrutiny about its ability to raise the funds to complete the deal. Last month Moshiri assured supporters that the deal was in the “home straight”.

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One source close to negotiations told the Guardian that a deal had been agreed over money owed by the club to a consortium made up of another US investment firm, MSP Capital, as well as the businessmen Andy Bell and George Downing. The length of extension granted was said to be “weeks not months”, and repayment of the debt is a condition of 777 taking over the club.

MSP, Bell and Downing hold security over the new stadium development at Bramley-Moore Dock, as well as a charge over just over half of Moshiri’s 94% stake in the club, according to corporate documents filed in the Isle of Man. They could have chosen to have taken control of Everton themselves on Monday, but instead have granted 777 more time to repay the debt.

The length of time it has taken 777 to raise the money to takeover Everton has left some observers questioning whether the club may end up filing for administration. Such a move would likely mean a further points deduction for a team docked eight points this season and in another fight to retain their Premier League status. Everton, who remain two points above the relegation zone after Monday’s 6-0 defeat at Chelsea, are appealing against their latest two-point penalty.

The club has had to borrow hundreds of millions of pounds over the past two years to fund its operations, with debts to third-party lenders now thought to total about £550m.

Last week the Guardian revealed how Everton have paid about £30m in interest charges to an opaque lender associated with the tax exile Michael Tabor, according to corporate records. The charges appear to have reached about £438,000 a week, according to the troubled Premier League club’s most recent set of accounts, a figure more than three times the reported wages of the Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Everton and a spokesperson for Moshiri declined to comment.