Everton closer to takeover after talks with American consortium

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
A plane flying with a banner calling for chairman Bill Kenwright to leave
Everton fans fly a plane with a banner calling for chairman Bill Kenwright to leave

Everton are moving closer to a £200m takover by an American consortium and a deal could even be concluded by the end of the month.

The group, led by former San Diego Padres owner John Jay Moores and fellow entrepreneur Charles Noell, have been in talks with Toffees owner Bill Kenwright in recent months.

Moores and Noell were previously interested in investing in Swansea.

The pair have spent six weeks conducting a process of due diligence.

In addition to speaking to chairman Kenwright, they have had talks with the club's other major shareholders, Robert Earl and Jon Woods.

It is believed two China-based groups also remain interested in buying Everton but talks with the US consortium are now at such an advanced stage that an agreement is close and they would only step in should this deal fall down.

The Toffees have declined to comment on the latest interest.

In 2015, several parties were considering a deal to buy Everton.

In October, City of London sources revealed to BBC Sport that American investors, some with links to Major League Soccer side Sporting Kansas City, were exploring the purchase of the Premier League club.

Everton owner Bill Kenwright
Bill Kenwright has owned Everton since December 1999

Kenwright has conducted a search for investment for more than a decade.

But the latest moves are felt by those close to the club as representing the most positive and hopeful development since the theatre impresario indicated his willingness to sell.

Kenwright, who bought the club from Peter Johnson for £20m on 26 December 1999, said as far back as November 2007: "If the right person stands in front of me and wants to take this club forward, then I will sell."

Former Everton midfielder Peter Reid told BBC Radio 5 Live that the club needed new investment and a new ground.

"We've got a great squad of players and a good manager, but we need to get a new stadium to keep pace with the other clubs in this Premier League," he said. "You need the revenue that generates.

"If Bill Kenwright says it's OK, let's get it done."

After years of inactivity regarding a sale, it is understood there has been a growing intent to do a deal in recent months, fuelled by growing, serious interest from a number of groups.

If the deal is completed, it would mean both Merseyside Premier League clubs would be under American stewardship.

Moores, who bought baseball team San Diego Padres from Liverpool chairman Tom Werner for $80m (£53.7m) in 1994, is believed to be worth about £500m.

Moores and Noell have a background in technology.

Moores founded BMC software and also JMI Equity, a venture capitalism arm of his empire, which Noell helped to co-found.

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