Monday, December 11, 2023

Discussions end on blank check deal for Liverpool FC

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Talks for a deal between the ownership group behind Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox and a blank check company run by Moneyball Executive Billy Beane has collapsed, according to people briefed on the matter.

Instead, they said Fenway Sports Group, the vehicle owned by the two clubs controlled by billionaire John Henry, was in talks to sell a minority stake to RedBird Capital, a private investment firm founded by the former Goldman Sachs veteran Gerry Cardinale.

Private deal would likely lead to lower valuation for Fenway than the 8 billion dollars has launched a possible acquisition by RedBall, a special purpose acquisition company led by Mr Cardinale and Mr Beane, people familiar with the talks said.

Talks between Mr Cardinale and Mr Henry were described as continuing, and there was no guarantee that they would reach an agreement.

A transaction between the two companies would extend a recent trend involving private equity investment in major sports clubs and leagues around the world, especially as the industry has been hampered by the pandemic. Private equity firms are looking for A league at German Bundesliga and with New Zealand All Blacks rugby team.

A private deal between RedBird and Fenway would mean Mr. Beane and Mr. Cardinale would seek a different target for their RedBall Spac, launched in July with the aim of raising $ 575 million to acquire a sports franchise.

Discussions on the potential of private investment in Fenway have already been reported by Axios.

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Mr. Beane is best known for his analytical expertise working at the front office of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, where he became the subject of Michael Lewis’ best-selling book, Moneyball, which was later made into a movie starring Brad Pitt.

Mr Cardinale is best known for launching the New York Yankees regional broadcast network YES and currently manages more than $ 4 billion in assets at RedBird, which recently acquired French football club Toulouse.

Mr. Henry, a veteran of commodity trading who has made billions of crunchy numbers, has translated that success by owning two sports teams and directing them to championship seasons. Friends, baseball industry experts and former colleagues describe him as a champion of analysis in sports – like Mr. Beane.


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