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Robb Heineman confirms Everton takeover talks but says timing wasn't right for deal

Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Sporting Kansas CEO Robb Heineman has confirmed he held takeover talks with Everton in August, but the circumstances were not right to go ahead with a deal.

Speculation has been rife over the past few days that the Sporting Kansas group are set to complete a buyout of the Toffees and that members of the organisation will be at Goodison for the game against Manchester United.

Those rumours increased when Heineman tweeted a picture of his recent visit to Goodison for Duncan Ferguson's testimonial in August.

SKC representative Mike Illig, whose father Cliff is Sporting Kansas' principal investor, also attended the game and reportedly said he is an Everton fan.

Sporting Kansas released a statement on Friday saying there was "no truth" in reports of a impending takeover, seemingly ending the speculation.

When contacted by ESPN journalist Jeff Carlisle Heineman elaborated further, confirming that there were initial takeover talks, but that they did not go much further.

Speaking to ESPN, Heineman said:

"We went over there in August, and we're always opportunistic with opportunities like that. Was it ever close? No. Was it something that we still think about here and there? Sure. But do I actually think we're seriously in the running for it? No.

"What I said represents what Cliff thinks too. And Cliff is at the Royals game tonight which is where he'll be for every game [in that series].

"We went back [to Everton in August] to talk to Bill Kenwright about exploring if there was an opportunity for us. We had a good talk, learned a lot, but the timing probably just didn't work out really well for us.

"It probably wasn't the right set of circumstances, wasn't the right price, we probably weren't ready to pull the trigger. There are a lot of different things that just led us to think that it's not the time for us to do it right now."

The right price eh? One of the accusations levelled at the current board is that they are valuing the club at too high a price, especially given their relative lack of investment in the club and their amount needed by any purchaser to build a new stadium, pay off debts etc..

However, Heineman did offer some hope to Evertonians, suggesting his group weren't the only one interested in buying the club,

"I actually think there are a couple of legitimate groups that are talking to Bill Kenwright right now about buying the team. But I think there are some serious groups that are in the mix and I think it will get solved in the next few months.

"I think we're going to keep looking at stuff in the EPL for sure. The thing about Everton is it's such a solid foundation of fans, such a solid foundation as a club.

"From a profit standpoint they're a very profitable club in the EPL, which isn't always the case. It was very intriguing, and Liverpool is a beautiful place. So for all those reasons it made some sense, but at the end of the day it just wasn't the right thing."