Farhad Moshiri’s disastrous ownership of Everton has taken a surreal twist, with news the eccentric billionaire is in talks to sell the club to close associates of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.
The Mirror can reveal Moshiri and his backer Alisher Usmanov are considering cutting their losses at Goodison, after receiving approaches to sell their stake from FOUR different parties. But most progress has been made with a consortium led by controversial former Manchester United and Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon, who has most recently set up a company which specialises in advising on football club purchases.
Kenyon was involved in a failed bid to buy Newcastle, and now he is fronting a consortium which also includes American real estate tycoon Maciek Kaminski and John Thornton, a gold mining billionaire.
Thornton has close contacts with former President Trump’s administration, and acted as representative of Trump in trade talks with China, where he has extensive business ties, for which he has come under much criticism in his native US.
He is also a former president of American investment bank Goldman Sachs, and has close links with the controversial Bannon, who also worked for Goldman Sachs.
It is understood there have already been several meetings between Kenyon’s consortium and Moshiri, with further talks slated over a potential deal. But the price for Everton, after a disastrous six year period under Moshiri which saw them flirt dangerously with relegation this season, could be a major stumbling block to any deal with any of the four different bidders involved…with a total figure of more than £1bn likely.
Moshiri’s total investment in the Merseyside club, since he bought a majority shareholding back in 2016, now stands close to £600m, after a series of cash injections into the club, by converting loans into shares. His stake now stands at 94 per cent, after initially buying 49 per cent of the shares in the club, and he would need at least £600m to break even on his total investment.
But that is BEFORE the majority of funding for a new stadium has been provided, with the projected cost of the total build already set at above £500m, and most of that funding yet to be secured.
That would set the cost of the club at in excess of £1bn – which would be prohibitive for a club in Everton’s position.
Moshiri has privately indicated to the club board he is not inclined to sell, but with his business partner and principal backer Usmanov sanctioned by the UK, EU and American authorities because of his close ties with Russia president Vladimir Putin, they may be forced to consider offers.
The latest links with such controversial potential owners is just the latest of a series of crazy chapters in the Moshiri reign, with the British-Iranian businessman, who was Usmanov’s former accountant, spending more than £500m on largely disastrous transfer dealings since he arrived at Goodison.