LeBron James among investors pumping over €600m into Liverpool’s owners

RedBird Capital Partners take 10% stake in FSG as they deal with loss of revenues due to Covid-19

RedBird Capital Partners, the private investment firm part-owned by NBA star LeBron James, has bought a stake in Fenway Sports Group for about $735 million (€626 million), Liverpool’s owners have confirmed.

FSG has been in negotiations with RedBird for several months as it sought investment to cushion the financial impact of the pandemic, which is understood to have cost Liverpool £120 million (€141 million) in lost revenues over the past year. That figure is set to increase and the deal with RedBird, which will become the third-biggest partners in FSG, will enable Liverpool to continue with plans to redevelop the Anfield Road stand and invest in player recruitment at pre-pandemic levels.

RedBird's investment is based on a valuation for FSG of $7.35 billion (€6.25 billion). Liverpool's owners believe the deal will provide continuity and stability for the organisation, rather than simply a windfall for the football club or the Boston Red Sox baseball team they own, with several shareholders diluting their stake to allow James, Maverick Carter and their long-time business partner Paul Wachter to become part of the FSG ownership group.

The Red Sox president and chief executive, Sam Kennedy, will also become a partner in FSG. RedBird, founded by the former Goldman Sachs partner Gerry Cardinale, has purchased about 10 per cent of FSG. A portion of the investment will be new capital that will allow FSG to reduce the debts incurred over the past 12 months. That in turn will safeguard Liverpool against any risk to the proposed £60 million (€70.5 million) redevelopment of the Anfield Road stand as a consequence of the financial crisis.

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A statement from FSG's leadership, comprising principal owner John W Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon, read: "Our strategic partnership with Gerry and the entire team at RedBird will enhance our ability to pursue future growth opportunities in a more accelerated way but with the same selectiveness that has served us so well.

“We are also pleased to welcome to our ownership group LeBron, Maverick and Paul, with whom we have enjoyed a successful collaboration for well over a decade. Their addition is an important milestone for FSG and expands and deepens a long-time friendship and relationship that began in 2010.

“To our fans and supporters: winning continues to be the driving force for all of us. The growth of FSG as an organisation allows us to further strengthen our resources and commitment to the communities we serve, and we look forward to having these talented new partners join us in the next chapter of FSG’s evolution.” – Guardian