Everton fans woke up Tuesday morning to the news that the Blues could potentially have a second financier join the Board, one whose fortune dwarfs the current majority owner’s.
Minority owner Alisher Usmanov is being bought out at Arsenal by majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Indeed, Farhad Moshiri sold his stake in Red and White Securities for £200m to finance his 49.9% purchase of Everton ownership two years ago.
From our SB Nation counterpart for Arsenal, The Short Fuse -
Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, through his holding company Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, has made a £602m offer to buy out Alisher Usmanov’s shares in Arsenal Football Club. According to the London Stock Exchange regulatory statement, Usmanov’s holding company, Red and White Securities, has made an “irrevocable undertaking” to accept the offer.
The sale would take Kroenke’s ownership stake in the club to 97%, which would increase to 100% with the compulsory sale of the outstanding shares held by individual shareholders. The £29,419.64 per share purchase price offered by KSE values the club at £1.8b.
Usmanov and Moshiri are personal friends and have been business partners for years now. There were eyebrows raised in the finance community and in the rest of the Premier League when Usmanov’s USM Holdings became sponsors of Everton’s training ground Finch Farm last year for £75m, but the move was ratified since it was considered exclusively Moshiri’s project even though the pair are partners at USM.
There is no doubting Everton will be needing some cold hard cash in the coming years. new Director of Football is already undertaking austerity measures cutting out deadwood from the squad and looking to optimize the wage bill.
The Blues are also looking to start building their new home for another century at the Bramley-Moore docks, with estimates saying it could cost about £500m. Of that amount, £280m is being fronted by the Liverpool City Council on a 25-year loan and the club on the hook for £220m upfront.
When Moshiri bought his stake in the Blues in 2016, the entire club was valued at about £175m. While the Iranian investor is perfectly capable of funding the £220m from his $1.7 billion net worth (per Forbes), adding Usmanov to the Everton Board and his $15.1 billion net worth (per Forbes) would certainly have a bigger impact.
There have also been rumblings in recent months that chairman Bill Kenwright is considering stepping down from his role at the club after getting his stake cut down to 13% to make room for Moshiri. There was also unconfirmed talk that deputy chairman Jon Woods was being pushed out with a plan in place to buy up his 9% stake, and another relic from that era Robert Elstone stepped down from his chief executive role earlier this year too.
It is not a guarantee that Usmanov will automatically come onboard at Everton, and could well be looking at investing his cash in another football club in another country altogether, but seeing the foothold his close confidant has gained at the Toffees will certainly give him pause for thought and reason to join him instead.