Everton takeover: Farhad Moshiri stance on 777 Partners deal after claims over new buyers

Josh Wander of 777 Partners and <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> owner Farhad Moshiri -Credit:Getty Images
Josh Wander of 777 Partners and Everton owner Farhad Moshiri -Credit:Getty Images

Farhad Moshiri is ‘continuing to work towards completion’ with 777 Partners for the sale of Everton, despite discussions with alternative funding sources having been explored.

The Miami-based investment firm had agreed to acquire Moshiri’s 94/1% shareholding in the Toffees which he has held since 2016, back in September, but the deal has been held up for the last seven months with 777 still yet to clear the necessary hurdles to pass the Premier League’s owners and directors test due to questions over the firm’s financing.

A breakthrough looked to have been reached last month when the Premier League granted ‘conditional approval’ to the deal on the proviso that 777 met four conditions. Those conditions were that 777 loans, of which are likely to come to just shy of £200m when the next working capital commitment is required in the coming weeks, to the club have to be converted into equity; funds are required in an escrow account to meet financial obligations for the remainder of the season; proof of funding for the new stadium completion; and a £158m loan to be repaid to MSP Sports Capital.

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777 were granted an extension to the maturity date of the MSP loan, which was a week ago, but that extension is ‘weeks not months’ according to sources. 777 sources claim that the firm was confident of clearing the necessary hurdles to complete the deal.

On Monday (April 22) a Bloomberg report claimed that Everton’s financial advisor Deloitte had been tasked with finding alternative avenues of funding, while a New York Times report went one step further by suggesting that a new buyer was being sought altogether.

Representatives of Moshiri told the ECHO that the owner was still ‘working towards completion with 777’.

Ever since the deal to acquire Everton was announced, 777 has come under significant scrutiny as to its financial practices abroad, as well as its track record with the multitude of other international football clubs it owns, which includes Standard Liege, Red Star Paris, Genoa, Hertha Berlin, Vasco da Gama, and Melbourne Victory. Proof of funds for the deal has been a consistent sticking point for the Premier League.

Finding a new buyer to enter the fray at this time would be problematic for Moshiri were that to be the case, especially given the additional debt that has been accrued through the interest-bearing loans that 777 has provided to the club. Another financial helping hand will be needed shortly for working capital to allow the stadium build to remain on track and to meet payroll obligations, and it had been expected that 777 would be the ones to meet that requirement ahead of takeover completion.

Sources have claimed that Deloitte has been asked to look at alternative arrangements by seeking financial optionality for the repayment of the MSP loan, which is understood to be the biggest roadblock in the way of 777 completing the transaction and acquiring the club.

The 777 Partners stance remains that the US firm continues to work towards meeting the criteria set out by the Premier League in March and that they remain confident of doing so.