The Everton Football Club is in an advanced stage of discussions for takeover by a consortium of American investors including John Jay Moores and Charles Noell. The deal which is estimated at £200m (€271.6m, $297m) could be completed within the next six weeks.
The Liverpool-based club that plays in the Premier League has been in search of investors for almost a decade. Bill Kenwright, the club's owner since 1999, has always been open on his decision to sell his stake if it would help the club compete with the League's bigger players. He has been in talks with various investors on a complete or partial sale of the club.
However, the Moores and Noell proposal has been the most far-reaching, with both being granted a period of exclusivity to examine the finances at Goodison Park, the stadium that has been home to Everton since its completion in 1892. The consortium is also currently performing due diligence on the club's accounts.
Everton, which reported a record £28.2m profit for the 2013/14 financial year, will be the second Barclays Premier League side to get American investors in less than two months, if the deal were to go through. Recently, Crystal Palace Football Club agreed to sell a 36% stake to Joshua Harris, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, an American professional basketball team, and David Blitzer.
This is not Moores's first investment in sports. He is the former owner of major league baseball franchise San Diego Padres. About 12 months ago, both Moores and Noell were in talks to acquire 33% of Swansea City, another football club that plays in the Premier League. It had held talks with Huw Jenkins, the chairman, and the club's supporters' trust but the deal did not go through because of doubts among fans' representatives over accepting foreign investment.
Moores's BMC Software
Moores made his riches from BMC Software, a company he founded in 1980. BMC went public eight years after its launch and became one of the largest software firms in the US In 1992, he founded JMI Equity, an investment firm specialising in software. Ten years ago, he was reported to be among the richest 400 people in America, Forbes estimating his worth at $730m.
Noell, the co-founder of JMI, has attended Harvard Business School and occupied several senior roles in the corporate world. While he has been a managing director at technology firms and has handled several high-profile IT business deals, he has also served as an investment associate in the treasury division of American Security Bank and at Pittsburgh National Bank.