Liverpool owners weigh sale of historic Premier League football club
- Fenway Sports Group working with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as it gauges buy interest
- Deal could be one of the most valuable in sports of all time, with ‘massive capital growth’
The US owners of Liverpool are considering a sale of the historic English football club, people familiar with the matter said, in what could be one of the most valuable sports deals of all time.
Fenway Sports Group Holdings LLC is working with Goldman Sachs Inc. and Morgan Stanley as it gauges buyer interest in the English Premier League giants, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Best known in the US as the owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, Fenway Sports took over Liverpool for about £300 million (US$344 million) in 2010 in what was a forced sale by the American businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
That raises the prospect of one of the biggest ever returns on an investment in a sports asset, with GlobalData analyst Conrad Wiacek estimating that Liverpool could fetch more than US$5 billion.
“This would be mission accomplished as far as Fenway Group is concerned,” said Christina Philippou, principal lecturer in accounting, finance and economics at the University of Portsmouth. “The capital growth on this deal will be massive.”
News of the potential sale of Liverpool was reported earlier on Monday by The Athletic.
Liverpool are one of the biggest teams in world football and, along with northwest rivals Manchester United, one of England’s most successful. The club have won 19 top-flight league titles and six European Cup/Champions League titles.
They have recently been enjoying a return to their glory days under German coach Jurgen Klopp, who in 2020 led the club to their first title in the Premier League era.
Investors from America and the Middle East are likely to be among those interested in buying Liverpool given their strong appetite for exposure to the world’s richest football league.
The last two years have already seen high-profile takeovers of Premier League clubs Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Chelsea by US investor Todd Boehly and the private equity firm Clearlake Capital.
“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,” the group said in a statement.
Representatives for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Liverpool did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last year, the investment firm Redbird Capital Partners LLC acquired a stake in Fenway Sports.