HomeTechEverton takeover hopes given significant boost by US tech billionaire Michael Dell

Everton takeover hopes given significant boost by US tech billionaire Michael Dell

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Everton’s hopes of a positive resolution to their sale saga have risen after it emerged that one of the world’s richest men is backing the bid of two lifelong fans.

The proposed takeover of Andy Bell and George Downing has the support of Texan billionaire Michael Dell, the founder of computer giants Dell Technologies, whose wealth is estimated at £84 billion.

Dell’s backing is in the form of his ‘family office’ which has been established to manage his finances. Bell and Downing are pushing for Everton’s majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, to grant a period of exclusivity to close a deal. If successful, it is understood Dell’s private investment firm MSD Partners will be providing financial support rather than being at the forefront of the bid.

Bell and Downing have already committed around £50 million into Everton and represent one of the creditors who 777 Partners failed to repay before the May 31 deadline, leading to the collapse of their exclusivity agreement and chances of completing what was becoming a controversial purchase.

It is not the first time Dell has taken an interest in an English club. The 59-year-old was also partly involved in a potential takeover at Sunderland in 2019, with three investors from MSD Partners loaning £12 million to the holding company of ex-Black Cats owner Stewart Donald.

MSD has also provided funding to the owners of Derby County, West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Southampton.

The Texan ranks 13th on Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with around half of his fortune originating from the Texas-based computer company he formed in the mid-80s while a student.

Everton say no announcement on a preferred bidder is imminent, but Bell and Downing are among several groups attempting to buy-out Moshiri following the collapse of the 777 deal.

Moshiri tied himself to a period of exclusivity with the Miami-based investment group, but from day one there were serious concerns about their feasibility as Premier League owners. They multiplied over the course of last season.

Moshiri persisted with talks with 777 partners longer than many believed logical given their widely reported financial problems, eventually conceding defeat with a statement at the end of last month.

Fans will hope there is some light at end of tunnel

In their May statement, Everton said: “The agreement between 777 Partners and Blue Heaven Holdings Limited for the sale and purchase of the majority shareholding in the club has expired.

“The club’s board of directors recognises the considerable level of financial support 777 Partners has provided the club over recent months and would like to take this opportunity to thank them for this.”

Since then, interested parties with varied levels of investment in Merseyside club have pushed to close a deal.

A-Cap loaned funds to 777 as part of their forlorn effort to acquire Premier League approval, while MSP have provided funding to ensure the building work at the £500 million Bramley Moore Dock has continued. Having already tried to buy the club prior to 777 becoming the preferred bidder, they want to increase their stake.

Crystal Palace part-owner John Textor has also been suggested as a potential buyer, but he would need to end his association with the London club to abide by Premier League rules.

As possible fan owners, the Bell and Downing bid is currently most attractive among Everton supporters who will hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel in what has become a prolonged takeover process.

Bell and Downing have vowed to provide immediate funding for Everton during any exclusivity period, which could be essential given payments are pending for some of the transfers the club completed a year ago for strikers Beto and Youssef Chermiti. Deals were struck with deferred payments which are due in June. 

The backing of Dell would suggest they have the necessary capital to bring a much-needed sense of stability, despite the ongoing economic challenges after years of poor management at boardroom level.

Years of overspending cost Everton points deductions on two occasions during the 2023-24 season and another charge is to be dealt with pending further investigation.

Everton’s director of football Kevin Thelwell and manager Sean Dyche are on record admitting they may have to sell at least one of their most-prized assets in the summer transfer window to ensure Everton do not face further sanctions.

The club is scheduled to move into its new 52,000-seater dockside home in 12 months for the start of the 2025-26 season, and the asset of the new stadium makes the club an attractive purchase despite so many problems on and off the field.

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