Liverpool FC hot commodity for investment, sale

Kennedy indicated that the result could be a blend of stakeholders not previously mentioned, where an interested party buys Liverpool as a minority shareholder and over an extended period of time buys enough shares to gain majority control and become the new owner. .

Kennedy described the scouting process, in which the club enlisted the services of both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to help with the details of every possible transaction, as being in its “early days.” Kennedy declined to name any suitors.

FSG chairman Mike Gordon is managing the transaction, a new role for him that moves away from more direct oversight of the club’s operations on and off the pitch.

“It’s the beginning in terms of exploring the possibilities for possible investments in Liverpool,” Kennedy said in the lobby of the Midtown skyscraper where Major League Baseball and Kennedy are based, along with FSG principal owner John Henry (who owns the Globe) and FSG President Tom Werner, are attending owners’ meetings.

“Mike Gordon has done an amazing job leading the club over the last ten years. He will step back from that role and Billy Hogan will take on more and more. Billy is someone we are especially proud of in the Red Sox front office, he grew up in our organization.”

FSG bought Liverpool for $493 million in 2010. Last fall, Forbes estimated the franchise was worth $4.45 billion, making it the 22nd most valuable sports franchise in the world, higher than the Red Sox at No. 30 (3 .9 billion dollars).

Over the past two years, FSG has been open about its growth strategy. He ventured into real estate in the form of a new concert venue behind Fenway Park as well as a residential-commercial project surrounding the baseball field that will transform the neighborhood.

A year ago, FSG bought the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and has been open about its desire to get an expansion NBA franchise.

FSG is also interested in buying an NFL franchise someday, but that’s impossible right now and in the near future given NFL restrictions on private equity within ownership groups.

How does FSG sell its most valuable property while remaining in growth mode?

“Large companies grow by adding value to their business,” Kennedy said. “One way to increase that value from time to time is to sell assets or add investors. Does that mean FSG will sell Liverpool? I do not know. It is the job of John Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon to manage Fenway Sports Group responsibly and they felt this was the ideal time to explore possible investment opportunities at the club.”

Kennedy said the potential sale of Liverpool is unrelated to the club’s interest in owning an NBA franchise. He also said, “there’s nothing new on that front.”

“Over the years, we’ve expressed interest in making investments in other sports, including the NBA,” Kennedy said. “We have a lot of respect for the [NBA] commissioner [Adam Silver] and we have engaged with NBA owners over the years. Nothing is forthcoming. As far as expansion goes, the league hasn’t determined what it will do on that front.”

Prior to Kennedy’s comments, FSG came closest to discussing a potential sale, which was first reported by The Athletic, was a statement the group released at the time of the news.

“There have been a number of recent ownership changes and rumors of ownership changes at EPL clubs and inevitably we are asked regularly about the ownership of Fenway Sports Group in Liverpool,” the statement read.

“FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool. FSG have previously said that under the right terms and conditions they would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interest of Liverpool as a club.

“FSG remains fully committed to Liverpool’s success, both on and off the pitch.”


Michael Silverman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.

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