Everton name new leading shareholder

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Everton FC chairman Bill Kenwright speaking after the Hillsborough 25th anniversary memorial service at Anfield. Pic by Ida Husøy

Everton FC chairman Bill Kenwright will continue in his current role but has reduced his shares. Pic by Ida Husøy © JMU Journalism

Everton have announced Farhad Moshiri as a ‘new major shareholder’, with the British-Iranian businessman set to acquire a 49.9% stake in the club.

Chairman Bill Kenwright, who will stay on his current role, said in a statement on the club’s website: “After an exhaustive search I believe we have found the perfect partner to take the Club forward.

“I have got to know Farhad well over the last 18 months and his football knowledge, financial wherewithal and True Blue spirit have convinced me that he is the right man to support Everton.”

Moshiri already has experience as a major shareholder in a Premier League team, selling his stake in Arsenal on Friday in a move that undoubtedly links with Saturday’s announcement.

With his arrival bringing with it expectations of fresh investment, Moshiri said: “I am delighted to take this opportunity to become a shareholder in Everton, with its rich heritage as one of Europe’s leading football clubs.

“There has never been a more level playing field in the Premier League than now.  Bill Kenwright has taught me what it means to be an Evertonian and I look forward with excitement to working with him to help deliver success for Everton in the future.”

The announcement comes after years of inertia regarding a potential sale, with Kenwright making his intentions clear as far back as 2007.

In order for Moshiri to become the club’s majority shareholder, there has been a significant shift in the shares of Kenwright, Robert Earl and Jon Woods. Whilst Earl has sold the entirety of his 24% ownership of the club, both Kenwright (formerly 26%) and Woods (formerly 19%) have reduced their grip.

There has been a growing interest in the Blues of late, with an American consortium also holding talks with the Everton owner earlier this month. In the past, there has also been links to investors from China, Thailand and India.

In the end, it appears a solitary shareholder will lead the club into the future. However, his specific 49.9% (and therefore lack of a controlling stake) investment means he could still, in theory, be out-voted in the boardroom.

About Conor Allison, JMU Journalism