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Everton takeover latest: London-based businessman Vatche Manoukian joins Roma chief in race to buy Premier League club

A-Cap, the investment company that loaned 777 the funds to support the club during their attempted takeover, are looking to further invest alongside current owner Farhad Moshiri; Roma chief Dan Friedkin and Crystal Palace part-owner John Textor also interested

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Kaveh Solhekol says AJ Bell and George Downing, who are backed by the Dell family, have lodged a bid to buy Everton and want to do a deal

A group of international investors led by London-based businessman Vatche Manoukian have become the latest consortium to make a bid to buy Everton.

Manoukian, the nephew of an Armenian entertainment and property tycoon, is a partner in global technology investment firm IMS Digital Ventures and his bid group is understood to include investors from the Gulf and United States.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri was tied into a period of exclusivity with troubled US investment group 777 Partners until May 31 and could not enter into alternative discussions.

But the 777 Partners' purchase agreement with Blue Heaven Holdings Limited for the sale and purchase of the majority shareholding in the club has now expired.

Manoukian follows Roma owner Dan Friedkin's interest in acquiring the club. Friedkin, who bought the Serie A giants in 2020 and has an estimated worth of $6.1bn (£4.8bn), emerged as an interested party on Saturday.

A-Cap, the investment company that loaned 777 the funds with which they supported the club during their attempts to acquire Premier League approval, are looking to further invest, alongside current owner Moshiri.

Two local businessmen Andy Bell and George Downing are also looking to take ownership of the club.

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They will look to bring other investment with them and MSP, who are also creditors with Everton following their loan to fund part of the new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock, are also looking to take a further stake in the club, again in conjunction with one or more other investors.

John Textor, Chairman of Eagle Football Holdings, speaks during the FT Business of Football Summit in London, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. As the summit returns for its sixth edition, top execs from across US and Europe will be flying in to debate and discuss the financial forces transforming the game.
Image: John Textor has expressed an interest in buying Eveton

Crystal Palace part-owner John Textor is another candidate to buy Everton but needs to dispose of his investment in the London club before he can make a possible move to Merseyside.

Textor, a tech entrepreneur, bought into Palace for £90m in 2021 and his multi-club network Eagle Football also includes French side Lyon, Botafogo in Brazil and RWD Molenbeek in Belgium.

However, the American said his situation at Palace, where he is unable to secure a majority shareholding, meant it was no longer compatible with their longer-term goals and had therefore instructed Raine Group to find a buyer for his stake.

In a statement to the Financial Times, he said: "Crystal Palace is an independent club. An integrated sporting model, such as ours at Eagle, is simply not a perfect fit."

There is also another US-based group, DFO Management (formerly MSD), with Michael Dell associated and with large financial investments, interested in getting involved.

What happened to agreement with 777 Partners?

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri in the stands before the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 17, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Everton. Photo credit should read: Ian Hodgson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Image: Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is looking to sell the club

In September, the Miami-based investment fund said it had signed an agreement with British-Iranian billionaire Moshiri to acquire his 94.1 per cent stake in the club.

The deal, initially expected to be closed by the end of 2023, was delayed as 777 Partners reportedly struggled to meet the necessary conditions outlined by the Premier League to complete their purchase.

But Everton said in a statement back in May: "The agreement between 777 Partners and Blue Heaven Holdings Limited for the sale and purchase of the majority shareholding in the club has expired.

"The club's board of directors recognises the considerable level of financial support 777 Partners has provided the club over recent months and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for this."

 777 Partners executive Josh Wander
Image: 777 Partners executive Josh Wander

Moshiri, a former Arsenal shareholder, first bought a 49.9 per cent stake in Everton in 2016. By January 2022, he had increased his stake to 94.1 per cent with a £100m capital injection.

But despite investing nearly £650m in transfers to build the squad since Moshiri's arrival, Everton have slipped out of the top half of the table to fight relegation battles in recent seasons.

The club finished 15th in the Premier League after being hit with two separate points deductions for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

Who are the local businessmen keen to buy Everton?

Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

"One of the groups, I can confirm, is a partnership between two very wealthy, very serious UK business owners who are actually both Everton supporters. They are Andy Bell and George Downing, both lifelong Evertonians.

"Their bid is backed by the family office of the founder of Dell Technologies, the American businessman, Michael Dell. But this, I'm being told, is a predominantly UK spearheaded bid.

"The current Everton owner, Farhad Moshiri, is reviewing bids, and he's expected to grant a period of exclusivity to one of the bidders in the next few days. What I can confirm is that the bid of Bell and Downing has been lodged with Farhad Moshiri and it is a very serious bid.

"They are serious players, and they are backed by the reported $120bn fortune of the MS Dell family office. The cash is in place, and the two businessmen are ready and motivated to do the deal as quickly as possible, and they want to get on with the business of restoring Everton.

"The bid involves the two businessmen also putting in a huge portion of their own personal wealth into the project. They themselves are putting their necks on the line to restore Everton to its former glories.

"Now, my understanding of the situation is that this is not two supporters who are getting carried away and they want the pubs listed of owning a Premier League club. They are two private people, but they just see this as an opportunity to help restore Everton to its former glories, and they are Everton supporters.

"They have the motivation, they have the funds in place."

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