Investor raises £130m in bid to take a stake in Everton FC – but Kenwright stays

Farhad Moshiri

A New York-based investor has raised $165m, around £130m, in its bid to plough cash into Everton FC.

The Premier League club has been in exclusive talks with MSP Capital over plans to take a stake in the Blues, which would see owner Farhad Moshiri dilute his 94% stake, but still retain overall control.

The vehicle, MSP EFC Investors, involves 13 partners, although MSP is expected to manage the investment on their behalf, it has been reported.

The cash will be invested in the club, towards the build of its new stadium, and also transfer funds ahead of the new 2023-24 Premier League season.

MSP co-founders Jahm Najafi and Jeffrey Moorad, along with company vice-president Peter Taylor, attended an Everton game in January this year, and toured the stadium site at Bramley-Moore Dock.

The cost of building the new 52,888-seat ground has soared from £500m to £760m.

Last month it was revealed that a guarantee had been provided to the club by Andy Bell, founder of Manchester-based financial platform AJ Bell, and a lifelong Everton supporter, through a business he controls, Blythe Capital, believed to be towards the construction of the new ground.

News of the investment was followed today (June 23) by an update from the club on its board structure.

On Monday last week the club announced the departure of three board members, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, chief finance and strategy officer Grant Ingles, and former Everton centre forward and non-executive director Graeme Sharpe.

It said the fate of chairman Bill Kenwright would be resolved within the next 48 hours, but no further announcements have been made.

However, this morning, the club confirmed that Colin Chong, currently the chief stadium development officer, has been made interim chief executive.

James Maryniak, currently director of finance, will take charge of all finance matters as interim chief finance officer.

Two non-executive directors have also been proposed for the board, in Farhad Moshiri, alongside John Spellman, an experienced Chartered Accountant, successful businessman and Evertonian.

And Mr Moshiri also confirmed today that Bill Kenwright will remain as chairman – for the time being.

He said: “I wanted Bill to remain as our chairman during this important period of transition for the club and I am delighted that he has accepted my request to do so. Bill’s knowledge and vast experience will be crucial for us as we look to reset, deliver on external investment and position Everton for a successful future.

“In John, we have an experienced finance professional who has held chief executive and senior finance roles for international firms and I welcome him to the club.

“In Colin and James, we have two experienced senior club professionals who have agreed to take on enhanced roles on an interim basis, and who we know can and will deliver immediately.”

Kenwright’s retention will not sit well with a sizeable proportion of the fanbase which has called for his ousting.

But some fans took solace in the fact that the appointment is probably temporary while the board structure, under new investors, is determined.

One, tweeting as @theesk, said today: “Whilst disappointing (to say the least) that Moshiri maintains his faith in Kenwright, this is very much an interim, transitional board. I expect further changes in the very short term.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...