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Who is Vatche Manoukian? London businessman eyes Everton takeover with £400m bid

Vatche Manoukian (right) with Kristie Gonzales in Philadelphia in 2010

Vatche Manoukian has become the latest contender to plot a takeover bid at Everton.

The Athletic reports a group of international investors led by London-based businessman Manoukian has joined the increasingly crowded field of potential new owners of the Blues by making a £400million all-equity bid. Their article adds that the frontrunners, certainly in terms of fan sentiment, are British businessmen and lifelong Evertonians Andy Bell and George Downing.

They are already part of a group led by US investment firm MSP Sports Capital that lent Everton £158million last year, so they have the added incentive of trying to protect their existing investment in the club. Their bid, which was lodged last week, is a mix of fresh equity and a £350million loan secured on the club’s new stadium that would refinance Everton’s existing debts and that loan would be provided by the merchant bank BDT & MSD Partners, which was originally set up to invest American IT billionaire Michael Dell’s wealth.

Confusingly, the third bid is from Bell and Downing’s partners, MSP Sports Capital, as the New York-based fund has put together a new group with a view to taking full control of the club. This bid is believed to be a complex mix of equity and debt.

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However, alongside this trio, there are also the likes of John Textor and Dan Friedkin, two American businessmen who have already built multi-club groups. While these figures are all relatively well-known, Manoukian, the latest name to emerge has a lower profile.

Here is a look at who he is. The nephew of both the Lebanese-born entertainment and property tycoon of the same name Vatche 'Bob' Manoukian and London socialite Rafi Manoukian from the Armenian diaspora in Beirut, the 45-year-old is a partner in global technology investment firm IMS Digital Ventures and his bid group includes investors from the Gulf and United States.

Having obtained his Bachelor of Laws from University College London and the LPC from The College of Law, London, Manoukian began his professional career in the UK as a Project Finance lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner before moving to the US to help a private family office build, develop and operate one of the largest and most successful gaming and entertainment companies in the world.

He leveraged his experience with building businesses and project execution to start investing in and joining the boards of early stage CPG marketing platform ventures such as Wecheer.IO and renewable energy technology ventures such as Standard Gas Technologies.

Manoukian’s family have been awarded for their philanthropic ventures, supporting major humanitarian, educational, cultural and religious programmes across the world.