EvertonSo was his hope for an improvement in his financial situation.gave a big hitafter MSP Sports Capital withdrew from talks to acquire a minority stake in the club.
The New York-based investment group had signed an exclusivity agreement with theEredivisiein May and the plan was to invest up to £150 million ($191 million) in convertible debt that would be converted into a stake of around 25 per cent in the 145-year-old club. In a complex deal, £100m of that investment went to the Everton Stadium Development Company, the subsidiary of the club's owner that Farhad Moshiri formed in 2017 to oversee the construction of Everton's new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock. The rest would go to the club.
But while MSP goes ahead with its £100 million ($127 million) loan to the stadium company, that period of exclusivity is over and the blanket deal is dead. The obstacle? Objection from one of Everton's existing lenders, Rights and Media Funding Limited.
So what does the failure of this proposal mean for Everton? Will there be implications for the construction of the club's new stadium and, in the near term, for manager Sean Dyche's hopes of strengthening a struggling team in the remainder of the transfer window?
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What does this mean for Moshiri?
In short, nothing good.
Sources close to the Monaco-based businessman continue to give reassuring signals (but off the record) that all is well, that talks are underway, that there are many options, that there is nothing to see here... but the facts speak for themselves. . themselves.
Since buying his first shares in the club in early 2016, the 68-year-old has spent £750 million ($955 million) on players, coaches and a new stadium for Everton.
The goal was for the club to return to the position it held in previous yearsEredivisieIt was created: one of the great beasts of English football and a serial silver fighter. The return was... well, you know.
During his first six years at Goodison Park, the way Moshiri chose to spend his money was a real problem for his accountants. Everton fans might complain about the decisions he made, but not about his financial involvement.
However, that changed in early 2022, when Russian tanks invaded Ukraine.
For reasons we have mentioned several times in the past, that changed everything for Moshiri and Everton. Within weeks of the raid, Moshiri's business partner Alisher Usmanov was added to the UK's sanctions list, meaning the club had to cancel several lucrative sponsorship deals with companies linked to Usmanov.
The Uzbekistan-born oligarch would also provide a company to take over the naming rights to Everton's new home at Bramley-Moore Dock. Not anymore.
Then there was the shock to Moshiri, a British-Iranian, as much of his wealth is tied up in Russia and now out of his reach. Suddenly Everton, a club that had been spending too much for years, were faced with real cash flow problems, both in terms of completing their ambitious stadium project and running a Premier League football club.
So the club borrowed more money and sold players, while Moshiri tried to find investors.
Moshiri, right, watches Everton against West Ham in January (Image: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
First there was a long dance with an American group led by Maciek Kaminski, but that didn't go well when the Polish-born real estate investor lost his backers. However, the talks would resume a few months later and would go nowhere. Wasting more time. Kaminski was last seen without reaching a deal to buy Belgian Kortrijk.
The search for investment this year has focused on two other US-based investment groups: Miami-based 777 Partners and New York-based MSP Sports Capital.
After seeing times that seemed to go the way of the 777, MSP emerged as the preferred option and an exclusivity deal was signed that seemed to meet Everton and Moshiri's most pressing needs: financing for Bramley-Moore, money for the club and new blood. for the board.
That deal has since fallen through and only the first of those three goals has been achieved: money, in the form of a £100 million ($127.4 million) loan to the subsidiary overseeing the stadium's construction.
MSP's plan to acquire a 25 per cent stake in the club, via £150m of convertible debt, is dead. This means no cash injection for the club, no future burden sharing, no clear path to a revamped and proper board of directors and more debt on the balance sheet.
So yes, this is a problem for Moshiri and Everton.
What does this mean for the composition of the Everton board?
Plan A was for the MSP to acquire a significant minority stake in the club and gain two seats on the board of directors.
These holdings were expected to go to the mutual fund's co-founders, Jeff Moorad and Jahm Najafi. The former is a highly experienced sports broker in the United States and the latter is a successful investor in sports, media, real estate and technology.
It was also expected that there would be a place on the board for at least one of Andy Bell or George Downing, two highly successful British businessmen (Bell in financial services, Downing in real estate) who happen to be lifelong Evertonians.
In fact, these two have already put their money where their hearts are by loaning the stadium company £40m in May. This was intended as a bridging loan to keep Laing O'Rourke's contractors happy, with the scheme to be repaid once the MSP money arrived.
The latter was undoubtedly vital for Bell and Downing in terms of internal harmony: "How much of our money have you invested and in what?" – but also necessary to address the conflict of interest they would have as creditors of the club, a conflict that would normally keep them off the board.
So they are at an impasse. But the same goes for the whole club.
Everton fans protest against Moshiri in a march (Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
In June, after months of fan protest, Moshiri accepted that changes were needed.
Beyond are CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale, CFO Grant Ingles and club legend Graeme Sharp and interim CEO Colin Chong, who is leading construction of the stadium, and two non-executives: Moshiri himself and John Spellman, an accountant. and businessman.
This took some of the poison out of a situation that had become quite toxic.in and around the club, but no one believed this was more than a temporary solution until the deal with MSP was finalized.
The shakeup also left a very important figure in place: Bill Kenwright. The 77-year-old theater manager has been on Everton's board of directors for so long that it's not just about the furniture, but also about the décor and outdoor space.
Barrett-Baxendale and Kenwright (front row) at the London Stadium in January (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
For some Evertonians, it is the epitome of a blue. For others, and that number is growing and they are becoming increasingly angry, he is the main culprit for the club's slow decline.
Again, this is a topic we've discussed before and will certainly do so again. The important thing to note is that Kenwright is still chairman of the club and continues to hold an influence at Everton out of all proportion to his now very small involvement with the club.
It is not yet clear how and when that changes, like many other things at the club.
How will this affect the ongoing stadium project?
Currently this is not clear.
Moshiri revealed in an interview with talkSPORT earlier this year that the project, due for completion in the final months of 2024, is now expected to cost around £760 million ($968 million). In response, Everton later proposed this amount, which was significantly higher than the original estimate of £500 million ($637 million), including the cost of "associated works" and financing.
The club's original plan was to finance its new stadium through a combination of private debt, the sale of naming rights and Moshiri's own contribution. Significant contributions from the owner made it to this point, but the sale of the naming rights to USM Holdings had to be suspended indefinitely following the sanctions imposed on Usmanov.
With USM off the table, the club tasked US consultants Elevate Sports Ventures with finding a new naming rights partner. This process continues.
Construction continues on Everton's new ground at Bramley-Moor Dock (Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MSP will continue to provide the next tranche of financing to Everton Stadium Development Company, through a £100 million loan. "The club can confirm that it continues to make good progress in securing full financing for the stadium and, as part of that progress, has secured a loan to cover development costs for our new stadium," an Everton spokesman said.
But to this day there is still a shortage.
The exact amount is disputed, but it was expected to come from a construction loan from global banks JP Morgan and MUFG. Whether recent events will have any regulatory impact remains to be seen.
What does this mean for Everton's transfer spending ahead of the deadline?
Undoubtedly, this is also a heavy blow to the Everton football team.
With a high salary bill, regularly heavy financial losses and a stadium yet to be financed, the club's recruiting department has been operating on a no-spend policy this summer, seeking deals with little or no up-front cost.
So far they have signed four players, two on loan and one on loan. The other asset is the 19-year-old striker.Youssef Cermiti, signed in terms of buy now, pay later. At the same time, they have recovered over £110 million in sales fees from players such ascarlison ricoInAntonio Gordonin the last 12 months.
Meeting the Premier League's profitability and sustainability guidelines is also an ongoing concern for Everton, but the arrival of MSP was expected to leave room to close deals before the end of the term. The US-based group is said to have recognized a need to upgrade wireless equipment, with about a third of its investment going toward cash flow and other day-to-day expenses.
Cermiti arrived from Sporting (Photo: Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)
In fact, confidence in what happened in time to affect the end of that period had long since waned. This was a long, protracted and ultimately unsuccessful process, with Everton's recruiting team continuing to work under the assumption that funding would remain tight.
"(The MSP situation) doesn't really affect us in the sense that the guidelines and parameters related to signing players and in the market were already there anyway," Dyche said on Thursday. “There is so much deal verification in the Premier League, especially by investors, that it just doesn't happen in a day or a week.
“This is done from the commercial side of the club and I am not involved. But with the attraction of players, we know that we have to work hard in the market. We need to find ways to reach agreements."
With additional future MSP funds no longer an option, expect more of the same, unless Moshiri can find alternative investments.
Are there clear alternative financing options that the club can pursue now?
There is a very short answer to this question: no. There are no clear alternative financing options that the club can pursue at this time.
However, there are many unclear alternative financing options that the club can pursue, as we have already seen in the last 18 months.
One of the reasons we managed to cover the story of the MSP deal failure this week is that we were already asking questions about why the usual suspects were once again buying up an Everton "investment opportunity" in the US.
This came as a surprise, as MSP had filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission in early June that it had raised $165m (£130m) and everyone involved in the deal seemed pretty cool about it. your progress.
But now it looks like none of them have made it through a crucial due diligence check: do all our other lenders agree?
Think of it this way: You have a mortgage on your house with one bank, but then you try to get another mortgage with another bank, certainly on the same house. How do you think the first bank might react?
The first bank in our Everton example is Rights and Media Funding, a Cheshire-based loan company with two directors, no staff, no website and no contact details: don't call them, they'll call you.
However, it has more than £300m in loans on its balance sheet and most of it has been awarded to Everton, with whom Rights and Media have a long-standing relationship. This year, the club increased the loan facility with the lender to £200 million.
Therefore, it is a very important creditor. He also has a negative commitment clause on the security he has at Everton: four charges against the club's assets. That means you can object to someone else coming in and reduce security. And that happened with the MSP proposal.
But the objection to the MSP's convertible debt plan was not just that it put them at the end of a possible insolvency scenario. Rights and Media is also concerned that MSP's cash injection was more of a disposable product, when what is needed is an IV.
Dyche's team stayed up on the final day of last season (Photo: Tony McArdle – Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images)
It might be worth commenting at this point who actually controls the rights and the media, as the two directors, David McKnight and Jonathan McMorrow, are unlikely to make the big decisions.
An earlier incarnation of Rights and Media was Vibrac, a private lender based in the British Virgin Islands. A book published in 2017, Football's Secret Trade, by Alex Duff and Tariq Panja revealed that the ultimate owner of Vibrac was British bookmaker and racehorse owner Michael Tabor.
Vibrac and several related companies had profitable loans to clubs in England and Spain. Other names involved included British retailer Sir Philip Green and former Everton manager and Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl.
Could Everton borrow more money from them?
Of course, but if it was that easy and if it was likely to be allowed, it would have already happened. Dietz needed money two months ago.
The club borrowed money from Metro Bank during the pandemic, but that lender appears to want to stop supporting loss-making soccer and real estate development companies. Everton have paid their £30m debt to Metro Bank in installments for the past two years.
We have already reported that Bell and Downing have already raised £40m and that Farhad and Alisher's banks also appear to be closed for the foreseeable future. So it must be more debt from another new lender, which raises all sorts of questions about what collateral they would ask for and what interest rate they would charge, or the hope that one of those conversations with a new investor will pay off.
Everton lost 4-0 to Aston Villa on Sunday (Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Buitenspel/Buitenspel via Getty Images)
"As previously stated by the majority shareholder, he will continue to explore talks about new investments, provided they are good for the future growth of the football club," an Everton spokesman said on Thursday.
But you have to do it quickly. There are real concerns about Everton's cash flow, not to mention the fact that Moshiri has yet to put up a significant sum for his new stadium and that Dyche and his players face another relegation battle.
Could the 777 be back on the scene now?
Sure, maybe. It's definitely the whisper of the wind, and some even say it's already done and dusted. As mentioned above, the premise forThe athleteThis week's research shows we had heard something similar.
The other rumor after the MSP is desperately trying to close the gap is that there is an Asian group interested in buying a stake in the club. A large part, Asia. Great interest in football clubs. Many groups.
However, this process, if that is the correct word, began eighteen months ago. And the 777 has kicked more tires at Everton thanDominic Calvert-Lewinis up to date this year.
Perhaps this time the group founded in 2015 can raise money and add Everton to the collection of clubs of similar size: Hertha Berlin,knees Sevilla, Standard Liège and Vasco da Gama, as well as holdings in smaller clubs Melbourne Victory and Red Star.
Or maybe we'll just talk about the 777 and its impressive portfolio over the next month, only for the deal to fail at the last hurdle.
The conclusion is that there are no clear or easy options for Everton. Of course, this does not mean that the club does not have options.
Everton remain one of the biggest clubs in the country, with a proud history, a huge fan base and a beautiful new home to look forward to. But for Bramley-Moore Dock to be the starting point of a hopeful new journey and not the depressing end of a rocky one, some very important and painful decisions must be made quickly.
(Foto superior: Tony McArdle/Everton FC vía Getty Images)