An American lead group headed by former San Diego Padres owner John Jay Moore and Vice Chairman of that team Charles Noell have been in talks with Everton about a takeover bid according to the Times. Reports say that the US-based consortium have been given exclusive rights to inspect the books, a process that is currently underway.
Both helped lead a smaller budget team in a tough market for baseball to solid, if not spectacular, results. That's not what Evertonians want to hear, but there is some good news.
During their time in charge from 1994 to 2009 (when they first tried to sell the team) they spent near the league average on player salaries. After that failed sale their salary ranked in the last two spots until they finally sold the team in 2012.
JMI Equity had attempted to buy Swansea City last season, but talks didn't end up going anywhere and the group has now shifted their sights to Everton. With Bill Kenwright said to be of questionable health, finding a suitable replacement has been a strong need and this news will not be not a huge surprise to fans. There has already been at least one similar takeover rumor that came to nothing earlier this season in October with another American group, Sporting Kansas.
The question though is would this be a good match for Everton and the fans? This is not a huge investment as seen by Chelsea or Manchester City with oil money developing a team and Moore is not even on the level of Liverpool part owner John Henry who is currently valued at $1.58 billion dollars, while Moore is said to have a net worth of around $700-800 million.
That's not to say this group is cheap and would not help develop the club. An outside owner would surely demand a better deal for merchandise and look to grow the team's influence globally starting with the United States. Not having access to jerseys and other gear stateside is surely hurting the team that's now watching it's aging US star Tim Howard lose his ability to make them a bigger name here.
The biggest stumbling block has to be stadium issues though as Everton have tried several times to invest in a new stadium, but have so far been unable to. This investment group was responsible for the building of Petco Park in San Diego and would have to make a new stadium the top priority, followed closely by making the team a European regular.
The talks are said to have progressed to a point where the group has until the end of January to decide to proceed with the takeover. That's an interesting timeline likely blocking the team from making any major changes to the squad for fear of talks breaking down due to salaries, loss of major talent, etc.
In all honesty without knowing this group too well, I think outside of a true Everton fan buying the team someone like this might be the best fans could hope for. The group took good care of the Padres during their time and while not here to hand out money without looking at a return, they know you can't get that return in England without winning and competing.