18/10/2023 59comments  |  Jump to last

Updated The proposed takeover of Everton FC by 777 Partners is reportedly at risk because the Florida-based firm have thus far failed to provide a UK Government regulator with the required audited financial statements, a claim both they and the club have since challenged.

That's according to Tariq Panja of The New York Times, who reports that, according to "multiple people with direct knowledge of the ... process", the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), one of two bodies alongside the Premier League who must approve 777's buy-out of Farhad Moshiri's 94.1% stake in the club, submitted a request for the company's financial records earlier this month.

If the firm fail to produce them or at least provide an acceptable explanation for why they can't, it could put their bid to add Everton to their global stable of football clubs at risk of collapse.

That could have serious implications for Everton who have reportedly taken on around £165m in additional debt in the form of loans from MSP Sports Capital, the New York investment firm who came close to purchasing a 25% stake in the club earlier this year, and 777 themselves while still needing additional capital injections to complete the construction of the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and meet day-to-day running costs.

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While there were suggestions last month, when the takeover bid was first reported, that neither the Premier League nor Everton's biggest creditor, Rights & Media Funding, had any qualms about 777 Partners' suitability as owners of one of England's biggest and oldest clubs, Panja's report states that the regulatory bodies "are unsatisfied with the financial statements that have been provided."

The report continues: "In particular, they are uneasy about the failure of 777 Partners to provide up-to-date audited financial records for a holding company whose subsidiaries include not only well-known soccer teams in Belgium, Brazil, Germany and France but also investments in structured finance, insurance, media and airplane leasing."

Beyond those financial records, 777 will need to convince both the Premier League and the FCA that they either have or can raise the necessary funds to complete a buy-out and where that money will come from. In September The Telegraph and The Times in London reported that the total deal could be worth as much as £500m but, in posts to the social media platform X, Panja suggested that Moshiri stands to receive only £140m in the sale.

777 Partners were initially pressed for comment by the NY Times, they only responded to reject the notion that their takeover bid has stalled "based on uncorroborated stories. Out of respect for the process, 777 Partners will not be commenting on the ongoing regulatory approval process for its proposed acquisition of Everton FC.”

Since the publication of Panja's article, however, the company has put out a statement that read: 

“We have submitted all relevant documentation to the FCA in line with their requests, and indicative timings. As we have previously stated, the regulatory processes in relation to the proposed acquisition of Everton FC need to be allowed the proper time and space to run their course in private, and so we will not be commenting further.”

The Mirror, meanwhile, say that Everton have also pushed back against the New York Times article, insisting that there is no set timeframe for the takeover and that the club is satisfied that the deal remains on track.

The article in the American newspaper comes in the wake of a fourth investigative piece by Norwegian digital football publication, Josimar, that was released yesterday and which revealed more alleged instances of late payments, mortgage defaults and a failure to pay staff salaries on time, and also named one creditor to whom the company apparently owes more than $172m. 

It also detailed the close association between 777 Partners and A-Cap, a long-time lender to the Miami holding company and which is believed to have been the source of most of 777's finance for buyouts in the realm of football which has seen them acquire majority stakes in Genoa, Hertha Berlin, Standard Liege, Red Star FC and Vasco da Gama.

Quotes sourced from New York Times

Reader Comments (59)

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Colin Glassar
1 Posted 18/10/2023 at 06:49:19
Is anyone surprised by this? This is Everton after all.
Paul Hewitt
2 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:04:07
We are screwed. I really fear for our future. If we have one.
Laurie Hartley
3 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:15:45
I am not surprised at all, Colin.

After the latest articles in the media during the last couple of days, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that there is a very tangled web involved here.

Paul Hewitt
4 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:24:15
I'm thinking administration is our best bet out of this current mess.
Kim Vivian
5 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:42:22
As the saying goes - This won't end well. I'm reluctantly and sadly really starting to believe this.

Things ain't looking good through my glasses.

Except on the pitch maybe...

Pete Neilson
6 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:47:15
A decision by Moshiri so par for the course.
Paul Hewitt
7 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:54:22
Has anyone on here got a spare billion quid?
Tony Abrahams
8 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:54:35
With other people waiting in the wings I don't believe for one minute that we are fucked.

Hopefully the end game is nearing because these loans cannot just keep mounting up.

Jeff Armstrong
9 Posted 18/10/2023 at 07:58:10
Tony #8,

Who is waiting in the wings?

Dane Townsend
10 Posted 18/10/2023 at 08:19:56
After the failed Qatari bid where Sheikh Jassim was ready to commit over £6.5B to takeover Manchester United, he has a few billion going spare…

I wonder if he fancies another team from the North West to turn us into a powerhouse to get his own back at Man Utd?

Joe McMahon
11 Posted 18/10/2023 at 08:25:15
Fear not, everyone: Moshiri was hand-picked by Bill "I found you a Billionaire" Kenwright. We are in safe hands… 🤨
Jack Convery
12 Posted 18/10/2023 at 08:40:03
Let’s start a petition asking Sheikh Jassim to buy the club. He can only say no but, on the other hand? he could say yes!!!

777 Partners need to pull out asap – PLEASE.

Colin Glassar
13 Posted 18/10/2023 at 08:41:25
Dane, ethics, principles and morals aside, that might be our only saving grace. He'll probably end up buying a London club though, eg, Charlton, Orient or Dagenham and Redbridge etc…

I'm not sure I want any dodgy, oil soaked sheikh buying us but I suppose beggars can't be choosers. I feel sick now.

James Hughes
14 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:00:26
Well, Tony, I wish they would stop waiting in the wings as our main character keeps fluffing his lines.

They need to go from understudy to lead quite quickly.

Paul Hewitt
15 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:09:22
No one else is coming in for us. If they were, they would have done it by now.

It's 777 or bust. So bust it is.

Colin Glassar
16 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:14:58
Anyone remember the tune they were playing on the Titanic as it went down?

777 can’t even pay their own staff or rent for their offices!!

Neil Lawson
17 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:37:38
Perhaps 777 are actually 666 pretending to be honest and reliable?

Maybe the devil really is in the detail!!

Jerome Shields
18 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:38:37
Actually, I would not be surprised if this is true. The FCA were an anonymous operation when I dealt with them. They just collect information but are very targeted in what they ask for.

At the first actual meeting, they just dictate what they want to happen. The Premier League Owner's and Director's Test would have a remit that 777 Partners would find ieasy to pass. The FCA are a different kettle of fish.

I don't know where this leaves Everton and Moshiri. Who pushed him out to make that recent statement? Now looking very much similar to that disingenuous interview, as Kieran rightly called it, with Jazz Bal.

I really can't believe the situation that our Chairman's handpicked and long sought-after choice has got Everton into, with his advice. Also wondering about Rights & Media Funding.

Everton will survive and I will continue to support them. Someone is going to get a Premier League club for a bargain. They will have to have the necessary criteria for regulatory approval though. Still, I think Usmanov is involved somewhere.

Trevor Powell
19 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:51:24
Look on the bright side, we may have a lucky escape, and you never know, it might inspire a new buyer or consortium to come to the forefront.

I know it's a long shot but sometime, the sun will start shining on us Blues again!

Paul Brierley
20 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:55:58
I'm not sure these guys are what we want or need and this news may well be a blessing. The recent withdrawal of the Qatari's from purchasing Man Utd hopefully has them looking elsewhere.

Much like the horse punchers up the road, we have some key super positive attributes including seriously undeveloped marketing, a large and passionate fanbase, a glorious history and most importantly (in a business sense) a brand new stadium closing in on completion.

The debts and current negative financial situation are small beer to these deep-pocketed potential buyers, the growth potential for Everton is huge in a league that wealthy pursuers want in on.

Much like our team who seem to have turned a corner, as much in performances as results, this hopefully is the turning point for the club's financial future and direction.

Mike Price
21 Posted 18/10/2023 at 09:56:37
Unfortunately Moshiri seems to be the most gullible billionaire on the planet. I think he was well-intentioned but did not put the right people in place and so has been fleeced by all and sundry.

It's looking grim and could be a long road back but it's inevitable that Everton will come back.

Dale Rose
22 Posted 18/10/2023 at 10:02:17
Nearer thy God to me, I believe, Colin.
Niall McIlhone
23 Posted 18/10/2023 at 11:02:06
Carrying on with Colin's metaphor on the Titanic, there's a bloody big iceberg on the horizon unless the stars – somehow – start to line up for the club.

I suppose the whole Moshiri thing was built on sand anyway, as it's clear that he was the vessel for Mr Usmanov's money laundering.

But even then, Everton might just have steered clear of trouble had the war in Ukraine not come along, leading to the resultant freeze on the finances and assets of Putin's loyal oligarchs. The money then dries up, and Moshiri seeks to cut his losses.

Oh well, only a matter of a week now until the club's fate – in the short term at least – is revealed with the findings of the independent commission. Wouldn't it be sooo Everton for us to have a rare, hard-fought win at Anfield, only for the imposition of a 9-point deduction?

Barry Hesketh
24 Posted 18/10/2023 at 11:23:01
Shamoon Hafez @ShamoonHafez:

I'm told reports saying 777 Partners' takeover of Everton having stalled are "wide of the mark".

The 12-week process of the deal is still ongoing, talks with FCA continuing and 777 have provided the historical information requested. #EFC bbcfootball

Remember folks, it's derby week, anything that rocks the Everton boat will be welcomed by the rivals, stand by for more of the same until Saturday, possibly a world exclusive in the Mail, or an expose by the Guardian.

There is an understandable tendency for all of us to take too much notice of these reports when they seem to indicate some negative events for Everton.

Of course we are all right to be concerned about 777 Partners and all of the other issues we have as a club, and I so wish that everything that Moshiri is and has been involved with was more transparent and less open to conjecture and interpretation.

It used to be that an accountant would be able to present accurate information in a clear and concise way but, in this modern world, accountants have become magicians, using smoke and mirrors to aid their predictions and financial forecasts, until nobody is at all sure how much money is in the bank, how much has been spent, and how much is owed to creditors.

We as a club and supporters need a proper magician who can produce a proverbial rabbit out of the hat. I don't see 777 Partners as that – I see them as more Moshiri, but without the open wallet.

Tony Everan
25 Posted 18/10/2023 at 11:35:58
Who's lying then, the New York Times or the 777 spokesman?

New York Times saying they have not submitted the required documentation, 777 says they have.

Mark Taylor
26 Posted 18/10/2023 at 12:03:53
Paul @4,

I think administration is a last resort. Two things happen, as I understand it:

1) All football-related debts (eg, players, fees owed to other clubs) are prioritised. This often leads to even HMRC not being fully paid. The owners likely get nothing, certainly for their equity.

2) There is an automatic points deduction which I believe is 12 points. That, together with the necessary fire sale of players and even the ground means near-certain relegation.

Unless I'm missing something, this puts Moshiri in a negotiating position as weak as a kitten and I can well imagine that fact is not lost on 777 Partners, in driving a hard bargain, and possibly a still harder one, if needed.

The only issue from their side is they already have exposure in the form of loans. I wonder what degree of security they have on those? If not against the stadium, and thus with R&MF's agreement (and possibly MSP's), then not much.

You could make a movie out of all this…

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 18/10/2023 at 12:05:16
My information is that Everton actually approached the American company that they turned down in favour of 777 Partners, and asked them why they had stopped talking to them.

It sounds ridiculous, but this is what I heard. And when this other company told Everton that they had stopped talking because this is usually what happens once you get rejected, they were told 777 Partners were only providing a loan. 🤦‍♂️

I've been ridiculed by one or two, but this is coming from people who have been involved in this type of deal before.

Almost everyone who is lucky enough to live to a certain age will eventually understand the saying about truth being stranger than fiction – especially in the murky world of finance.

I'm going to have to start checking my story's because they do sound full of shite. I even had one fella in the gym telling me that Bill Kenwright was knocking on his door about one month ago, thinking he was at Mike Lyons's daughter's house.

I said to this man, “Are you sure, he's not supposed to be well” and the reply was that he was having the banter, and seemed perfectly fine.

Please don't tell Michael I was always gullible as a child Dave, he would really love that!

Mark Ryan
28 Posted 18/10/2023 at 12:23:51
Anyone got the mobile number for that Man Utd Saudi who has £5 billion burning a hole in his pocket???
Stephen Davies
29 Posted 18/10/2023 at 12:24:36
From BBC Sport:

I'm told reports saying 777 Partners' takeover of Everton having stalled are "wide of the mark".

The 12-week process of the deal is still ongoing, talks with FCA continuing and 777 have provided the historical information requested. #EFC #bbcfootball.

Tom Bowers
30 Posted 18/10/2023 at 12:53:12
Nothing new here!!

Don't be surprised if Disney or Elon Musk makes the next bid.

Pat Kelly
31 Posted 18/10/2023 at 13:01:07
What's all the panic about?

If the regulatory authorities don't like the set of accounts 777 have provided, I'm sure 777 can provide another set.

Tony Abrahams
32 Posted 18/10/2023 at 13:02:54
Good detective work, Barry H, aren't FSG from New York?
Jerome Shields
33 Posted 18/10/2023 at 13:05:44
Tony #27,

If the above story is true, it is possible that Everton could be approaching other interested parties.

Bob Parrington
34 Posted 18/10/2023 at 14:00:20
IMO The New York Times should mind its own business and just stick to WORDLE, as its reporting is full of bullshit!

Barry H - Good post.

John Pendleton
35 Posted 18/10/2023 at 14:03:31
If this is true, then at least get the money back for the four free tickets in the Director's Box for the Luton game.

Every little helps.

Brent Stephens
36 Posted 18/10/2023 at 14:12:17
Pat #31 — or 777 Partners might say they don't want to belong to any club that would accept them as owners.
Tony Abrahams
37 Posted 18/10/2023 at 14:15:00
“That story being anywhere near true is absolutely terrifying in so many respects, Jerome”.

A scouser I know, who is involved in this type of deal, said, "Although I'm a Red, I'm still gutted for the Bluenoses in my family and also for a lot of genuine Evertonians that I know because the fans are getting completely hoodwinked."

There is a definite twist in the tale of this story, if it was to be true, but as things stand 777 Partnersare supposedly the only deal in town.

I keep thinking Usmanov must be behind the deal, but I've been assured that, with the current sanctions in place against the Russian oligarchs, then any Americans wishing to get in bed with Big Al would be operating in an extremely stupid and very dangerous manner.

Maybe it was Jerome or Barry H, that suggested it might be possible for 777 to return the club to our current owners if the current situation changes, and this does seem feasible (to me) because something about this deal does seem very puzzling, imo.

Ian Horan
38 Posted 18/10/2023 at 14:23:36
I thought MSP's investment was blocked by Rights and Media Funding, who are owed £200 million.

And who strangely appear to have connections to the Theatre World!!! Boys Pen Bullshit Bill by chance … ???

Ed Prytherch
39 Posted 18/10/2023 at 14:23:43
It's a New York Times story from an anonymous source, so don't shit your pants just yet…
Paul Kossoff
40 Posted 18/10/2023 at 15:19:49
My son said to me the other day that something bad always happens when we play the Red Shite, players injured or suspended, always when they are due.

Now this… well, what a surprise.

I've said recently that, if we are still as we are this time next season, I will be surprised. When does our boat dock, when does the tide turn, where is the golden vision?

Ray Smith
41 Posted 18/10/2023 at 15:23:27
Jerome @18,

How right you are in respect of Usmanov. Moshiri was and still probably is his puppet. Nothing stopping Usmanov talking to the Qataris, if he hasn't already!

The 777 supposed buyout of Moshiri's shares seems a tad murky, but then again that's Everton's current off-field business dealings and activities.

Albeit an old cliche, once an Evertonian, you're in for life.
I'd rather concentrate on the team, rather than the murky dealings upstairs. Hopefully the independent commission will be lenient with us, then things will start moving.

Soren Moyer
43 Posted 18/10/2023 at 16:04:45
Blessing in disguise if true.
Jerome Shields
44 Posted 18/10/2023 at 16:48:39
Tony #37

I don't think Moshiri and friends will come back once they leave. But Evertonians can only wonder at what is going on at the moment.

If you follow a club, you would prefer a solid business model that was orientated to providing a successful team. Anyone on ToffeeWeb is very concerned about what is going on, naturally enough.

Both Moshiri and Wander would be better to shut up, because their reasoning is coming across as excuses and justification without being born up by facts.

Eric Myles
45 Posted 18/10/2023 at 17:38:34
Paul #31, many a true word spoken in jest!
Brian Wilkinson
46 Posted 18/10/2023 at 17:39:46
If there are other potential buyers in the wings, surely they will wait until after the hearing, in a few weeks time, see how the land lays after then?

I fear if it goes tits up, only 777 Partners will take a gamble, recover their losses short term, then sell big when we move to the new stadium, offering a sports venue to hire out, and increased revenue on additional season ticket sales.

If we get a slap on the wrist, I suspect other interested parties will step in, and throw their hat into the ring.

Paul Hughes
47 Posted 18/10/2023 at 17:41:16
We'll see, I guess. Personally, I wouldn't trust the New York Times any more than I trust 777 Partners.
John Raftery
48 Posted 18/10/2023 at 17:56:47
We have two big fixtures in the next week.

Taking one game at a time, it would be wonderful to win the first of those at Anfield, though for the club's medium-term well-being Wednesday's independent commission hearing is more important than Saturday's game.

I believe a positive outcome from the hearing will help to clarify matters for all those to whom we are in debt and for potential purchasers.

James Newcombe
49 Posted 18/10/2023 at 18:04:10
I thought 777 Partners were in a period of exclusivity? So until that goes tits up officially, they will be the only option.

I'm astonished that Moshiri is entertaining them – he could be back to square one very soon, but saddled with even more debt and wasted time.

Tony Everan
50 Posted 18/10/2023 at 18:28:06
Surely Mr Moshiri's legal team have looked at the audited accounts of the buyer before he agreed to a sale running into the hundreds of millions?

If so, then the FCA must have them now too and the New York Times article is as they say “wide of the mark”. Something doesn't add up.

Mike Gaynes
51 Posted 18/10/2023 at 19:09:05
James #49, there is no announced exclusivity period for 777 Partners.

Everton announced one for MSP's bid in May, but not for 777 Partners.

So there does not appear to be anything contractual preventing another bidder from coming in.

Kim Vivian
52 Posted 18/10/2023 at 19:13:02
Someone remind me of timelines – just hearing (2nd hand) via TalkSport that 777 have missed the deadline for providing proof of funding – presumably that is to the Premier League or the Football Association people.

Does that sound credible? Or is it just TalkShite talking shite?

David West
53 Posted 18/10/2023 at 19:18:28
Why have these media outlets got it in for 777? It doesn't bode well for the image of our club if they do get the go-ahead to takeover, does it?

There are multiple artisan owners in the Premier League now, I've never seen so much shit thrown at a company or perspective buyer.

There can't be so many stories of mismanagement, financial irregularities, unpaid bills, dodgy dealings and an inability to finance this deal, without some of it being true.

We are in position that beggers can't be choosers. I was positive about 777 Partners in the beginning, I still think they can't do any worse than Forehead Moshiri. But do they really know what it takes to run this club, without us having all this noise and negativity?

If they pass all the regulatory checks and the green light is given, surely it will put to bed a lot of the speculation.

Mike Gaynes
54 Posted 18/10/2023 at 19:18:44
Kim #52,

As I understand it, first and foremost it's the Financial Conduct Authority that requires the documentation, and no "deadline" has been announced, nor has any news story referred to a specific date or timeline.

Kim Vivian
55 Posted 18/10/2023 at 19:36:28
Thanks, Mike – that is kind of what I thought without trawling through back threads to see where it has been commented before.

The media really is stirring the pot.

Tony Everan
56 Posted 18/10/2023 at 19:55:42
This bit is interesting: “777 Partners told the Belgian soccer federation's licensing committee that it could not provide the firm's most recently audited accounts — a routine requirement in any assessment of the suitability and solidity of the businesses financing teams in the country's top league.

"Eventually, the prospect of tossing one of Belgian soccer's biggest teams out of the league was deemed unacceptable by the committee, and a compromise was found. Now, 777 Partners finds itself in the same position.”

Is it Groundhog Day because they allegedly haven't delivered audited accounts for the Everton takeover? Sounds like they may be banking on the UK authorities doing the same.

Eric Myles
58 Posted 19/10/2023 at 04:30:00
Mike #51,

There may be a contract for the sale in place between 777 Partners and Moshiri that would prevent Moshiri from entertaining other bidders. In fact, I'd say it's most likely as I can't see 777 providing funding and talking to the FCA if there's a possibility they'll be gazumped.

Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 19/10/2023 at 07:04:29
Eric, no agreement prevents getting gazumped until it's finalized -- unless there's an exclusivity period built in. Neither Everton nor 777 has said a word about any such terms. So if there is such a contract, they've successfully kept it a secret.
Eric Myles
60 Posted 19/10/2023 at 09:07:42
Mike, an exclusivity agreement is a pre-contract instrument. Not needed if a contract has been signed already.
Barry Hesketh
61 Posted 19/10/2023 at 16:17:58
In this report by Mark Douglas in the 'I', 777 Partners will go ahead with a deal to purchase Moshiri's shares, even if the FFP investigation goes against Everton, as this was included in their decision to invest in the club. He also reckons that it will be at least late November before any conclusions to the investigation are made public.

“We have submitted all relevant documentation to the FCA in line with their requests, and indicative timings,” a spokesman said.

As part of their commitment to the process 777 have already lent the club £20m to cover the club's running costs while the process plays out and I understand a further £20m has been now been committed.

A third payment is expected before the end of year deadline for the completion of the takeover and that £60m would be converted into equity if the takeover is completed.

Everton's 777 takeover to go ahead despite FFP investigation and possible points deduction

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