HomeFinanceLiverpool FC sale explored by US owners Fenway Sports Group

Liverpool FC sale explored by US owners Fenway Sports Group

Fenway Sports Group is in the early stages of exploring a sale for Liverpool FC, people familiar with the matter said, making the English Premier League side the latest prestige sports asset to go on the market.

Boston-based FSG is being advised by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley after it was approached by at least one potential buyer, according to two of the people. FSG bought Liverpool in 2010 for £300mn.

In a statement, FSG said it frequently received interest “from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool. FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club.”

News of the potential sale was earlier reported by The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website.

FSG’s decision to explore a Liverpool sale comes months after Chelsea FC was sold by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich to a consortium led by US financier Todd Boehly for £2.5bn. 

During the sale process Chelsea received more than 200 bids, highlighting the strong appetite for Premier League teams. In addition to Boehly, Chelsea received serious bids from private equity tycoon Josh Harris and another from British industrialist Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The Chelsea sale was quickly followed by two more record-breaking football deals. Italian champions AC Milan were sold to a US investment firm for €1.2bn, a record in Europe outside England, while the longtime owners of Olympique Lyonnais agreed to sell to an American businessman for €800mn, the highest ever for a French football team.

Investors, particularly from the US, have been drawn to European football by the fast rising value of media rights and what some see as the relatively low valuations compared with US sports.

Several high-profile sports assets outside football have also come on the market this year, including the US National Football League’s Washington Commanders, the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns, and Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels and Washington Nationals.

Since FSG acquired Liverpool, the club has returned to the very top of European football, reaching three Champions League finals and winning once. The club was also crowned Premier League champions in 2020, ending a 30-year spell without an English league title.

Forbes values Liverpool at $4.45bn, making it the fourth most valuable football club in the world, behind Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United. It ranks 22nd across all sports.

Last year the club generated revenue of £487mn, according to Deloitte, the seventh-highest figure in Europe, and higher than Chelsea’s £436mn. 

FSG is the parent company for Liverpool, baseball’s Boston Red Sox and hockey’s Pittsburgh Penguins, one of the more prolific dealmaking sports empires in the US. The group has attracted notable minority stakes, including from basketball star LeBron James.

It is controlled by John Henry, a self-made billionaire in commodities trading, who has been a reticent public figure.

Henry was among the Premier League owners who issued a grovelling apology to club supporters for his advocacy of the proposed European Super League project in 2021, telling fans he was sorry “for all of the disruption I caused”.

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