Everton FC bidder 777 seeks extra time amid race for funding


The investor trying to take control of Everton Football Club has pushed back its target date for completing the deal as it scrambles to raise hundreds of millions of pounds to fund it.

Sky News has learnt that 777 Partners has told stakeholders including the Premier League and prospective lenders that it now expects its takeover of the Toffees to be finalised late next month.

It had been seeking to close the deal by the end of this week.

City sources said on Wednesday that 777 had also requested in recent days an extension to a repayment deadline for a loan of nearly £160m.

The money is owed to MSP Capital and the prominent Merseyside businessmen Andy Bell – founder of the investment platform AJ Bell – and George Downing, and is due to be repaid by next Monday.

It was unclear whether the lenders had responded formally yet to that request.

777, which owns a number of sports assets but has faced increasing scrutiny over the financial health of its affiliated businesses in industries such as reinsurance, has approached a significant number of potential lenders to help fund the Everton deal.

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Among them is Blue Owl Capital, a large US-based private credit provider which was said to have been involved in ongoing discussions with 777 as recently as Wednesday morning.

The Premier League has approved the takeover in principle but has stipulated a number of conditions which must be fulfilled in order for it to proceed.

Among them is that 777 deposits £60m into an escrow account for use by the club, and that it converts about £160m of loans it has already made to the Goodison Park club into equity.

It must also demonstrate that it has access to sufficient funding to complete the construction of Everton’s new stadium at Stanley Park.

Everton have been regular strugglers in English football’s top flight in recent years – a far cry from its success in the 1980s, when it won several major honours.

The club has been owned for years by Farhad Moshiri, a British-Iranian businessman who has pumped an estimated £750m into it.

It has endured a particularly turbulent campaign because of two points deductions imposed by the Premier League for breaching Profit and Sustainability Rules.

The first, a ten-point deduction, was subsequently reduced to six on appeal.

The second, announced just days ago, saw Everton lose a further two points, hindering its battle against the drop.

Growing doubts about whether 777 will be able to complete the Everton takeover come amid a flurry of corporate activity involving Premier League clubs.

Manchester United recently saw the arrival of Ineos billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe as a minority shareholder, while Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy last week confirmed that it was seeking new investors.

Brentford’s owner is contemplating a sale of a big stake in the club, while a roughly-10% shareholding in West Ham United is also on the market.

777 Partners declined to comment, while Blue Owl Capital did not respond to an emailed approach from Sky News.

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