English football club Everton to be bought by American investment firm 777 Partners

Everton's Abdoulaye Doucoure celebrates scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Bournemouth at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England, Sunday May 28, 2023. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Everton, one of English soccer’s most storied teams, will be bought by American private investment firm 777 Partners, the club said Friday.

Majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has agreed to sell his 94.1% stake in the Premier League club, which he said would secure financing to complete a state of the art stadium that is currently under construction.

“Going forward, Everton will play in a stadium that will be the envy of the Premier League and beyond,” Moshiri said.

Miami-based 777 Partners already has stakes in a number of soccer teams through its 777 Football Group, which Everton will become part of.

The firm completed a majority stake takeover of Hertha Berlin in March. Its other clubs include Europa League champion Sevilla, Italian club Genoa, Brazilian team Vasco de Gama, Belgian club Standard Liege, French team Red Star FC and Australian team Melbourne Victory.

Moshiri has been involved with Everton since 2016 when he bought an initial 49.9% stake.

His time at the Merseyside club has seen about $800 million spent on transfers, but that has not produced on-field success. Instead his reign was littered with disappointment and upheaval, leading to repeated battles for its top flight survival.

Frank Lampard became the sixth managerial casualty under Moshiri when the former Chelsea great was fired last season and replaced by Sean Dyche.

Everton avoided relegation on the final day of the season, keeping the team from falling out of the top division for the first time since 1951.

The team has drawn three and lost one of its four league games so far this season.

Moshiri said his decision to sell was because of “rapid changes in the nature of ownership and financing of top football clubs.”

“The last two transfer windows have shown that the days of an owner/benefactor are seemingly out of reach for most and the biggest clubs are now typically owned by well-resourced PE (private equity) firms, specialist sports investors or state backed companies and funds,” he said.

Everton had been sponsored by companies belonging to Moshiri’s long-time business partner, Russian metal tycoon Alisher Usmanov. The club said last year that it had suspended agreements with his companies, USM, Megafon and Yota. Usmanov had been sanctioned by the European Union in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Everton was a founding member of the English Football League in 1888 and Premier League in 1992. It has won nine league championships, five FA Cups and a European Cup Winners’ Cup, but has not won a major trophy since the FA Cup in 1995.

“We are truly humbled by the opportunity to become part of the Everton family as custodians of the club,” said Josh Wander, founder and managing partner of 777 Partners, “and consider it a privilege to be able to build on its proud heritage and values.”