Jahm Najafi 'considers' MSP Premier League takeover amid £3.5bn Tottenham 'interest'

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Centre of picture, Pete Taylor, Jeff Moorad and Jahm Najafi of MSP Sports Capital (Image: Getty Images) -Credit:Getty Images

MSP Sports Capital are reportedly weighing up whether to make a fresh offer to buy Everton as 777 Partners' deal appears to be on the verge of a collapse.

Earlier this week, Everton owner Farhad Moshiri engaged in conversations with Josh Wander, co-founder of 777 Partners, seeking answers about the Miami-based group's ability to complete the agreed purchase. This came after allegations of fraudulent activities emerged against them from civil court filings in New York.

The latest claims come from London-based Leadenhall Capital who allege non-payment of debts by the firm and its subsidiaries. They charge that 777 used collateral that either "did not exist" or was not legally possessed by entities under Wander's control.

The same week it was revealed that players of Belgian side Standard Liege, a club in 777's football portfolio, were allegedly not paid this month. As a result, Moshiri sought talks with 777, confirmed by sources, and was on the verge of cancelling the deal agreed back in September, which had been delayed due to lack of Premier League approval.

In March, the Premier League gave conditional approval for 777 to take over, provided four conditions were met. These included: converting 777's loans to the club, now exceeding £200m in junior debt, into equity; requiring funds in an escrow account to meet financial obligations for the rest of the season; proof of funding for the completion of the new stadium; and repayment of a £158m loan to MSP, the New York firm that lent Everton money last year for the stadium build, reports the Liverpool Echo.

The loan from MSP was due on April 15, with 777 having to convince MSP to extend the loan repayment. The firm reluctantly agreed, although the extension was said to be 'weeks not months'.

MSP, a company spearheaded by billionaire Jahm Najafi and former sports super agent Jeff Moorad - recently linked with purchasing Tottenham Hotspur in a deal worth a reported £3.5bn, emerged in early 2023 after discussions to acquire a 25% stake in Everton through convertible debt. However, this proposal was turned down by one of Everton's major creditors, Rights and Media Funding Limited, who opposed the deal fearing it could weaken their own security.

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The loan from MSP was secured against Moshiri's Blue Heaven Holdings Limited, the parent company of Everton, with the New York-based firm having the option to take a controlling interest if the loan repayment defaulted.

While that scenario didn't materialise, MSP is now contemplating whether taking over the club might be the most prudent move considering the increasing probability of the 777 deal falling apart soon.

Had the initial 25% deal been successful last year, MSP would have had some operational control at board level. Now, with a significant amount of capital invested in the club, they may see acquiring the club as the best way to safeguard their investment and potentially achieve a higher return.

The development of Bramley Moore Dock stadium is in everyone's interest due to its value as an asset. If a company like MSP can step in, tidy up the club and its balance sheet, safeguard its worth and then pass it on to a new owner in about a year and a half, this might now be appealing given the anticipation that the 777 deal won't meet Premier League standards. This kind of manoeuvre has precedent in Europe.

A similar scenario unfolded in Italy in 2022 when former AC Milan owner Li Yonghong was unable to continue financing the club and defaulted on loan repayments to American hedge fund Elliott Management.

Elliott, a company led by Wall Street veteran Paul Singer, had no previous experience in owning a sports team, nor did it intend to, but it polished up Milan as an asset before selling it to RedBird Capital Partners for $1.2bn.