Everton ‘assessing options’ as 777 miss takeover deadline

Everton say they will "assess all options for future ownership" after the deadline for the sale of the club to 777 Partners expired.

The US-based consortium agreed to buy majority owner Farhad Moshiri's 94% stake in the club in September 2023.

777 Partners was given until 05:00 BST on Saturday to complete the share purchase agreement of Everton but the deadline passed without resolution.

The club say they will "continue to operate as usual" as they look at their ownership options.

How did Everton get here?

Moshiri, who took a controlling stake in the club in 2016, has faced a backlash from supporters in recent years after presiding over a period of poor performances on and off the pitch.

Everton posted losses of just under £400m for the four years between 2019 and 2023, which resulted in the club being docked a total of eight points for two separate breaches of the Premier league's Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).

After an agreement was struck last September, the Miami-based investment firm had hoped to complete a takeover of the club by the end of 2023.

However, the deal was met with persistent delays as 777 failed to meet the Premier League's required conditions of ownership.

The investment firm was granted an extension in February, and the Premier League wrote to the club and Moshiri in May to say 777 must provide proof of funds and turn their £200m loan to Everton into equity.

The Premier League also wanted proof that the firm could pay off a £158m loan owed to MSP Sports Capital.

But hopes of 777 meeting those conditions appeared slim in early May as the firm appointed finance restructuring experts to help it cut costs.

With pressure building on the Premier League to reject the takeover, its chief executive Richard Masters said it was not for the league to decide who the club was sold to.

"The Premier League’s role in this, as a regulator, is to perform the [owners' and directors'] test," said Masters.

"It is not to decide who the current owner wants to sell his club to. That is his decision. At the moment, he wants to continue to have discussions with 777 about it."

'Unsuitable owners'

Despite fan protests against Moshiri's ownership, a sale to 777 received widespread criticism and faced intensifying calls for the deal to be called off as the takeover dragged on.

The Everton Advisory Board wrote to Moshiri in early May asking him to dismiss 777's takeover bid and to explore alternative options.

"Each party must recognise the role it is playing in sullying the reputation of one of the most storied clubs in English football history and appreciate that all the rumour and speculation is causing extremely high levels of anxiety and concern to the club’s greatest assets: their fans," a statement read.

The Advisory Board labelled 777 "unsuitable owners", who would cause "reputational damage" to the club.

In a scheduled meeting with supporters later in May, Moshiri said he had received "unsolicited" approaches from other parties interested in the club as talks dragged with 777.

Crystal Palace co-owner John Textor is one known interested party.

The American businessman, who owns the largest stake in Palace, has announced plans to sell his 45% share in the Eagles and is monitoring the situation at Everton.

Toffees officials insist the club remains financially stable and claim there will be no "fire-sale" of players this summer to comply with PSR rules.

That's despite Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, and manager, Sean Dyche, both saying there could be sales this summer.

The club's build of a new 52,000-seater stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2025-26 season.

Costs for the project have increased from £500m to £760m since the building began in 2021.

The Toffees finished 15th in the Premier League last season, securing their survival with three games remaining.

'No quick fix'

Giulia Bould
BBC Radio Merseyside reporter

The news that the 777 Partners takeover is off the table won’t come as a surprise to most Everton fans but many are asking: what’s next?

The Miami-based investment group had been given numerous chances to complete the deal but given the amount of headlines surrounding the consortium and its finances in recent weeks it always looked unlikely to go through.

The Toffees still have a working relationship with 777 right now because they have provided loans of £200m.

But now the takeover is off it means Everton can progress talks with other interested parties, and a number have made unsolicited approaches that couldn’t be advanced until this stage.

It’s been another season of stress and drama for the fanbase with two PSR charges, points deductions and headlines around the takeover - so many will have further worries today.

Thelwell and Dyche have already begun working together to boost the squad in the transfer window, and talks are continuing with Seamus Coleman, Ashley Young and Idrissa Gana Gueye over new deals.

Both have said they don’t necessarily have to sell members of their squad unless some big offers come in and the player wants to leave. That will be a relief to supporters who have seen favourites like Richarlison sold off in recent years in order for the club to meet PSR rules.

Regarding the ownership though, this will not be a quick fix. Other parties will be in conversation with Mr Moshiri and there will be another Premier League owners' and directors' test should they want to proceed. Given the 777 situation has run since September, a new deal to take control of Everton will surely play out over months, not weeks.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.