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The proposed takeover of Everton was thrown into serious doubt on Friday night with sources close to majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri claiming a deal with the Peter Kenyon-led consortium was off.
The exclusivity period granted to the group led by Kenyon, which was being bankrolled by American businessman Maciek Kaminski, expired on Thursday night, but sources close to the consortium insisted they were unaware of negotiations ending.
There was surprise at Moshiri’s claim, as work was said to still be ongoing between the Kenyon-led group and their lawyers at trying to find an agreement and provide proof of funds.
As reported by Telegraph Sport, Kenyon’s group, which included Kaminski and another American businessman John Thornton, had hoped to reach an agreement to buy the club by July 21.
But Moshiri’s camp were adamant that talks had been called off and will not be revived, with the 67-year-old apparently wanting to focus on stadium financing and squad strengthening.
The news will cause surprise and significant concern among Everton supporters, who had seen star player Richarlison complete a move to Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day.
As first reported by Telegraph Sport, Kenyon’s group had signed heads of terms and believed they had broadly reached agreement over a deal to buy Everton for over £500million.
The consortium had also vowed to fund the building of the new stadium and make transfer funds available to head coach Frank Lampard.
A period of exclusivity had been granted to the group, which allowed them to negotiate with Everton without the threat of a rival bidder holding takeover talks.
Kaminski travelled to England to meet Moshiri in person and visited the site at Bramley-Moore Dock, where Everton’s new stadium will be built.
But the expiry of exclusivity and the claims of sources close to Moshiri have put a major question mark over the future of Everton and a pivotal time for the club.