John Henry issues response when asked if he plans to sell Liverpool

-Credit: (Image: James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images)

Liverpool principal owner John W. Henry has given a clue as to whether or not Fenway Sports Group would look to sell the Reds.

From late 2022 through to the middle of 2023, the Reds were the focus of much rumour and conjecture over a potential sale of the club by FSG after the Liverpool owners kicked open the door to a potential sale of the club in November 2022.

Swiftly, the focus moved from seeking expressions of interest in a full sale to a search for a minority investor, a deal that was tied up in September of last year when New York-based Dynasty Equity took a single-digit percentage stake in the club at a valuation of $5bn.

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That deal was struck to raise capital to pay down bank debt to improve the club’s cash flow position by removing interest-bearing debt repayments, aiding the club’s balance sheet moving forward.

The club’s initial move to seek a sale was driven by the desire to test the market with regards to the interest in the club and its potential valuation, with source in the US familiar with the matter having repeatedly told the ECHO that a full sale was not on the agenda.

When Henry spoke to the ECHO in an exclusive interview in March of last year, the Reds principal owner said that FSG’s commitment to the club was “stronger than ever”.

Fast forward 15 months and a new era is beginning on the field next season under Arne Slot, the head coach brought in to replace the legendary figure of Jurgen Klopp, whose nine-year stint as manager came to an end last month.

Henry has once again been quizzed on the possibility of selling Liverpool, as well as the appetite for selling the other sporting properties that they own, namely the Boston Red Sox, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Via emails to the Financial Times, Henry stated: “My wife and I live and work in Boston. We are committed to the city, the region. So the Sox are not going to come up for sale. We generally don’t sell assets.”

The lack of stating outright that they won’t be selling Liverpool will likely see plenty of conspiracy theories sprout up on social media, but the value of Liverpool for FSG has never been about annual dividends from profits at the club, it has been about creating value and checking out on a high.

They will end their spell as owners of Liverpool at some stage, but the same well-placed sources in the US have told the ECHO that the point of exit is not soon, with considerable road left to travel in terms of value creation and opportunity with Liverpool, especially at a time when the US market is finally opening up in a big way to the game of ‘soccer’ and the Premier League. The Reds have a considerable footprint in the US to get them off to a strong start.

The creation of FSG International, led by CEO Billy Hogan, will see another football club added to the FSG portfolio to aid Liverpool’s long-term plans. The plans for FSG at Liverpool remain long-term, but the ties that bind in Liverpool aren’t as strong as they are in Boston, so there will be an exit strategy at some stage.