Peter Kenyon is fronting a consortium who are in talks over a deal to purchase Everton Football Club.
Kenyon, who was chief executive at Manchester United and Chelsea before being involved with Paris Saint-Germain, Wolves, Atletico Madrid and Middlesbrough, is part of a US-based group who are interested in a move to purchase the £500million-valued club from Farhad Moshiri.
The group includes chief executive of Minneapolis-based Talon Real Estate Maciek Kaminski and American businessman John Thornton, while being advised by investment specialist Michael Klein and US law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges.
Interestingly, Klein was an adviser to the Sir Martin Broughton-fronted bid to buy Chelsea before Todd Boehly’s takeover.
According to reports from The Telegraph, talks are at ‘a relatively early stage’, however the consortium may want guarantees that Everton will not face a points deduction or heavy fine over Financial Fair Play issues before entering into a legally-binding arrangement.
However due to Kenyon’s relationship with Frank Lampard from their time together at Stamford Bridge, the current manager’s position would not be under threat.
While such a takeover is far from being near completion, it could spell the beginning of the end of Moshiri’s ill-fated time at the club.
The current owner shared an apology to fans in an open letter following the end of the season, with talkSPORT’s Simon Jordan insisting the owner must be clearer with fans if he’s to ever get fans back on side.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Jordan said: “Why has he got to apologise?
“Maybe some of the players and managers that he’s put in place who haven’t done their jobs have to apologise for their mentality of coming in and sweeping a big bag of his cash before slinging their hooks, proverbially.
“He needs to explain the vision because this is a public domain business.
“He needs to qualify his thinking in the mind of the fans. Whether you think you should or you shouldn’t, these fans have an emotional attachment to the club that supersedes his financial ownership.
“I don’t think he should be apologising or saying ‘I’m sorry for losing £500million of my own money’, what he should be saying are ‘these are the areas we got wrong, we aren’t going to keep making the same mistakes and here’s what the future looks like’.
“Bring the fans with you. He hasn’t brought them with him because he’s made ridiculous decisions.”
Everton FC is the subject of four potential takeover approaches, according to media reports.
One, headed by former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, has reportedly agreed heads of terms, despite talks being at an early stage, claims a Daily Telegraph article.
The club, which narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League last season, has declined to comment Mr Kenyon is fronting a US consortium, which includes Maciek Kaminski, the chief executive of Minneapolis-based Talon Real Estate, and American businessman John Thornton. They are being advised by investment specialist Michael Klein, along with the US law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges.
Mr Klein was an adviser to the Sir Martin Broughton-fronted bid to buy Chelsea before Todd Boehly’s successful takeover.
Everton majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, who bought into the club in 2016, is believed to value the business at £500m, including club debt.
Mr Kenyon’s consortium is believed to have offered £400m.
They are also, reportedly, seeking assurances that Everton will not face a potential points deduction, or fines, over Financial Fair Play issues before tabling a legally-binding offer. Everton’s financial strategy was impacted after one of its key investors, billionaire Alisher Usmanov, was sanctioned by the US and UK governments over his alleged links with Russian President Vladimir Putin following his invasion of Ukraine in February.
Mr Moshiri has provided around £500m of funding for the club since 2016, although his investment has failed to translate into a meaningful improvement in its playing fortunes.
He apologised to fans in an open letter last week, admitting: “We have underperformed in what proved to be a very challenging campaign.”
He added: “Mistakes have been made and for that I want to apologise to all of you. It has not been good enough and we need to do better.”
Mr Moshiri is currently funding the building of the club’s £505m new stadium at the riverside Bramley-Moore Dock site, and he pledged: “I am committed to securing the future success of the club by delivering a fully-funded stadium that will underpin our status as a leading club. Our new stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock has reached an exciting and landmark stage as it emerges from the ground, with the four main cores now in place
“Of course, the stadium alone will not help us achieve our objectives and we are committed to not making the same mistakes again including how we have not always spent significant amounts of money wisely.”
His letter to fans concluded: “Your incredible support is never taken for granted and together we move forward.”
However, it is believed he is now ready to listen to offers that would allow him to withdraw from the club and hand control to new owners. www.thebusinessdesk.com/
The Peter Kenyon-led consortium bidding to buy Everton have secured an exclusivity agreement for talks aimed at clinching a deal.
Telegraph Sport revealed on Monday that Kenyon is fronting a group, including chief executive of Minneapolis-based Talon Real Estate Maciek Kaminski and American businessman John Thornton, trying to buy Everton.
Heads of terms have been signed and it is understood that Kenyon’s group have agreed a period of exclusivity to hold detailed talks with Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and to carry out due diligence on the club.
Everton and Kenyon’s group have declined to comment on the talks, which have been described as “positive”. Telegraph Sport understands that, while the former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive is fronting the group, Kaminski is providing the greatest financial weight behind the bid. Kaminski is said to be a very private individual and it is unclear whether his wealth is personal or if he has secured funding through his business interests.
Attempts to contact Kaminski, who was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States aged eight, have so far been fruitless but a source told Telegraph Sport: “Kaminski is the money behind the bid. There is not a lot of information out there about him, but the word is he has significant funding behind him.”
Sources believe that, should a deal be agreed, then Everton will be sold for more than £500 million, including the club’s debt, while any new owners would also have to fund the new £500m stadium.
Kenyon has been advising clubs and prospective owners for a number of years from his base in Jersey. His company Opto Advisers have been involved with the transformative takeovers of Paris Saint-Germain and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He has worked with Atletico Madrid and Middlesbrough, and was involved in a bid to buy Newcastle United.
He is not thought to be in line to earn any commission on the purchase of Everton and the current expectation is that Kenyon would take a role as part of any new ownership.
Thornton is the executive chairman of Barrick Gold, one of the world’s largest mining companies with a net worth of £31 billion, and non-executive chairman of PineBridge Investments, having stepped down as co-president of Goldman Sachs in 2003.
The consortium’s bid is being advised by investment specialist Michael Klein, along with the US law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges. Klein was an adviser to the Sir Martin Broughton-fronted bid to buy Chelsea. The group made the final shortlist, but missed out to the Todd Boehly-led consortium. www.telegraph.co.uk/
Peter Kenyon’s American consortium took a small step closer to buying Everton, after financial meetings in London today.
We understand the group which is fronted by the former Manchester United and Chelsea CEO have expressed a serious interest in buying out owner Farhad Moshiri, following an initial examination of the club’s operations.
They have signed an exclusivity agreement, which technically precludes talks with other parties, but have so far not entered a period of due diligence, which would indicate an even more serious intent.
The finance for Kenyon’s group is provided by Minneapolis-based property and investment tycoon Maciek Kaminski - an American-Polish businessman who was in London for talks - and gold-mining billionaire John Thornton, who has controversial links with former President Trump and his former adviser Steve Bannon.
Explained: Everton’s proposed takeover Everton owner Farhad Moshiri originally intended to talk about stadium funding. The Iran-born billionaire agreed to speak with Peter Kenyon’s consortium of finance heavyweights to find out what they might be able to offer his club’s project to build a glistening new 53,000-seat ground on the banks of the River Mersey. But then it became apparent that Kenyon, gold-mining magnate John L. Thornton and real-estate tycoon Maciek Kaminski were interested in more than that — in buying a controlling stake in the club itself. Moshiri continued to listen.
Chastened by events last season which culminated in a brush with the club’s first relegation since 1951 and the withdrawal of key sponsor Alisher Usmanov as the global economy was rocked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moshiri has been contacted by several groups interested in acquiring his majority share of Everton. To date, the group led by former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive Kenyon are in pole position. There has been a head of terms agreement drafted — essentially a non-binding document that sets out the main issues in a proposed takeover or sale.
Nobody close to the talks expects them to be resolved imminently. Some close to Moshiri are urging caution, counselling him that if he were to plough ahead with building the stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in time for the 2024-25 season, he may then be able to sell the club for around £1 billion — double the £500 million he presently values Everton at. But Moshiri, who seven days ago broke his silence to supporters to apologise for the mistakes of his six-year reign thus far and reiterate his commitment to building Goodison Park’s successor, may yet decide two years is too long to wait.
The Athletic understands that, ideally, the former accountant would retain a 10 per cent stake in the club after any potential takeover, but it remains to be seen if his conditions and valuation of the club are shared by any of the interested parties. Moshiri may want to remain in a new era under new owners, but there have been suggestions the Everton board could look substantially different should a takeover happen. Why would Moshiri be open to selling?
It was only last week that Moshiri appeared to publicly reaffirm his commitment to Everton. In an open letter to fans, he apologised for the mistakes made under his leadership, which began in 2016, and promised to “deliver a fully-funded new stadium” that would “underpin our status as a leading club”. “Of course, the stadium alone will not help us achieve our objectives and we are committed to not making the same mistakes again, including how we have not always spent significant amounts of money wisely,” he wrote.
Yet it was a troubling season on and off the pitch; one that has taken its toll on many at Goodison, including Moshiri. After spending just £1.7 million on new players last summer, Everton only narrowly avoided a first-ever relegation from the Premier League, securing their top-flight status with one game to spare. The big game-changer, though, came in February, with Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine sparking a chain of events that saw Everton temporarily sever ties with a host of sponsors linked to Russian Usmanov. Those deals have been suspended indefinitely, and are highly unlikely to return. Moshiri has also been forced to distance himself from Usmanov, a close business associate and someone who has at times been a looming presence behind the scenes at the club.
Worth in the region of £20 million a year, and with the potential for more later down the line in the form of a stadium naming rights deal, the loss of those deals left a significant hole in the finances of a club that had already posted three successive annual losses of over £100 million. Even with the money from Usmanov’s company USM in place, Everton had been in regular dialogue with Premier League officials for well over 12 months regarding their ongoing compliance with financial fair play regulations.
They are having to be more careful now than at any point in the Moshiri era, and can no longer look to spend their way out of a mess even if they did have the money to try to do so. Tough decisions have already been made.
Last week, Everton agreed a record sponsorship deal with Stake.com which will mean a gambling firm’s logo again appears on the chests of their shirts, two years after splitting from SportPesa. While it may plug a clear shortfall in funding, the move has attracted criticism from some supporters and campaigners. Back in 2020, the club’s then and current chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale admitted that, “in an ideal world”, Everton would not have a gambling sponsor in the most prominent position on their match-day kits. Yet here they are, already back in that territory. Some would say out of necessity.
The events of the last few months mean Everton are very far from operating in an ideal world. The well has almost run dry. Until recently, there has always been an insistence on the part of Moshiri and Everton that he remained fully committed to the cause. Reports that Moshiri was considering selling, particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, were quickly denied by all camps. His commitment to plough in an additional £242 million, as revealed in January’s accounts, also appeared to show his unflinching support. But the whispers continued and it is true that the search for extra investment, in one shape or form, started some time ago. With the owner’s blessing, Everton have had talks with numerous potential partners over financing for the new stadium, with Moshiri also said to have been keen at various junctures to bring in further additional funding to supplement his running of the club.
Those talks, which have been underway for some months, have now escalated further… and developed into something else entirely. These are tough conditions in which to secure new finance. Tougher still, if those you are trying to convince to invest do not feel as though they’d be able to put their stamp on proceedings. Who is in Kenyon’s consortium?
The group is fronted by a familiar face to football supporters, as well as Everton manager Frank Lampard: Peter Kenyon. The former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive is understood to be leading the talks so far. Since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2009, Kenyon has become a director at influential football consultancy business, Opto Advisers. From his headquarters in Jersey’s capital St Helier, the 68-year-old has worked with various prospective owners, playing an important role in the Qatari takeover of Paris Saint-Germain in 2011 and advising Chinese conglomerate Fosun International on their purchase of Wolverhampton Wanderers six years ago. He was also involved in a failed bid to buy Newcastle United. But in global terms, the most high-profile member of the group is US businessman John L. Thornton. Also 68, Thornton is a billionaire and the executive chairman of Barrick Gold, the world’s biggest gold and copper mining company.
His gilded career encompassed a period as a star banker at Goldman Sachs, leading the investment giant’s European expansion in the 1980s before rising to become its president. From there, he moved into academia and the orbit of politics. A professorship at Tsinghua University in China’s capital Beijing followed, along with becoming chair of the board at the Brookings Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC.
Thornton also worked in a senior role at HSBC bank but was lured to Barrick Gold in 2012 with a reported $12 million welcome package. “John was a highly desirable, well-known commodity,” the company’s then-chair Peter Munk told Barrick’s annual meeting. “We had to secure him.” Thornton’s esteem in political circles continued.
His knowledge of Chinese commerce and his connections in the Far East led the administration of previous US president Donald Trump to ask the urbane, Harvard-educated father-of-four to represent the country in trade talks with China.
In the hours after the news of Thornton’s involvement in the Everton consortium broke, a photograph began circulating on social media of Thornton dining with Trump’s controversial former advisor Steve Bannon and former UK politician turned right-wing commentator Nigel Farage.
Alongside Kenyon and Thornton around the table will be American real-estate tycoon Maciek Kaminski, who is chief executive of Minneapolis-based Talon Real Estate. The Polish-born businessman may be less well known than Thornton but reportedly hopes for a significant role in any takeover. What would a takeover mean for the new stadium?
Whatever happens, Moshiri is likely to want — at the very least — to make good on his promise to help deliver Everton’s new home at Bramley-Moore Dock. Whether that is with him still at the helm or through other investors, though, remains to be seen. Backed by his money, the £500 million project continues apace. Moshiri supplied the funds for the now-completed preparatory works at the site and, more recently, the club signed what is in essence a fixed-costs agreement with constructor Laing O’Rourke. It is still on course to be completed in time for 2024-25, and is still on budget.
With the help of US finance giant JP Morgan and Japanese bank MUFG, Everton continue to look for stadium funding. This has been the basis of past talks with investors, which has, in turn, paved the way for these more serious conversations over a fully-fledged takeover.
In the ongoing absence of the right funding partner for the new stadium, The Athletic understands Moshiri has offered to front the money until such time as conditions in the private lending sector improve. Any consortium, the Kenyon one or otherwise, would need to ensure the project is fully funded and seen through to fruition — a substantial commitment that would almost double the cost of Everton for any potential buyer.
Additional contributor: Patrick Boyland By Greg O'Keeffe, Matt Slater The Athletic