July 29, 2021

Liverpool FC, (former) target of Emirati investors?

At the start of 2018, a powerful Emirati investor tried to buy the club Liverpool FC from the American group Fenway Sports. An attempt which failed but which does not definitively end the rumors around shareholder changes within the Reds.

Mentioned for several months in the Anglo-Saxon press, a serious attempt to take over Liverpool FC was indeed carried out at the beginning of 2018. It is the work of Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, cousin of Sheikh Mansour, owner of Manchester City FC.

According to information recently revealed by the Daily Mail, discussions have indeed taken place between the Emirati businessman and certain trusted men of the Fenway group concerning a potential transaction. Reds executive boss Tom Werner has even met the Emirati businessman on this subject on several occasions.

To conclude such an operation, Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan was ready to formulate an estimated bid of £ 2bn in order to buy back all of Liverpool FC’s shares. An operation that would have enabled the Fenway group to achieve a significant capital gain. The American group bought the Reds in 2010 for an estimated amount of £ 300m.

To ensure this operation, Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan would have contacted the Swiss investment fund Alternative Advisors. A structure which would then have been responsible for raising the necessary funds to complete the buyback operation.

Fenway wants to attract minority investor in Liverpool FC share capital

This is not the first time that an attempt to buy the club has been mentioned in the British press. In 2016, some rumors expressed an interest expressed by the Chinese group China Investment Corporation. An entity that would have been ready to make an offer of up to £ 700m to buy the Reds from the Fenway group. An operation which also never succeeded.

If Fenway has recently spoken to deny any desire to withdraw from the club; On the other hand, the American group does not hide its desire to welcome a minority investor to the capital of Liverpool, able to provide additional funds and take the club to an additional level. Hence the regular holding of discussions with possible future British or international partners.

With this in mind, FSG would moreover have mandated the company Allan & Co to carry out the surveys. However, the American group does not intend to part with a club which has recently found a good sporting going and which is now generating profits. Even if a nice added value is possible.

Towards a game of musical chairs involving Premier League investors?

As FSG seeks to open up the capital of Liverpool FC, the opposite movement has recently taken place at Arsenal FC. The American businessman Stan Kroenke recently bought the shares of his “partner” Alisher Usmanov in order to avoid a shareholder dispute. An operation up to £ 550m allowing Kroenke to now own almost all of the club’s shares.

A stone’s throw from Anfield, rival club Everton FC are also reportedly looking to bring in a new investor, only a few months after having already welcomed Farad Moshiri into its share capital. Capital which would allow the club in particular to finance its future stadium project. And Alisher Usmanov, already a partner of Moshiri at Arsenal FC, is said to be tipped to become the club’s new shareholder.

Finally, some uncertainties related to Brexit and geopolitical conflicts could also lead to some changes at the head of the clubs. While he has denied any rumors about a potential disengagement, Roman Abramovich’s position regarding his future at Chelsea FC is unclear. The Russian businessman in particular decided recently to postpone his project to modernize Stamford Bridge. A not very positive signal sent to Blues supporters …