Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have received “a lot of interest” in Liverpool investment, according to FSG partner Sam Kennedy.
FSG are believed to be considering a sale, although they would prefer to attract new investors by selling a minority stake.
They have asked Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to gauge buyer interest and now Kennedy, the CEO of the FSG-owned Boston Red Sox, has claimed there are plenty of suitors for investment.
He told The Boston Globe: “There has been a lot of interest from numerous potential partners considering investment into the club.
“It is early days in terms of exploring possibilities for possible investment into Liverpool.”
Kennedy’s comments are the first public statement from an FSG individual since the group released a statement earlier this month.
He also spoke about FSG president Mike Gordon, who is stepping back from his day-to-day running of Liverpool.
“Mike Gordon has done an extraordinary job of leading the club for the past decade-plus,” he said. “He will be taking a step back from that role and Billy Hogan will be taking on more and more.
“Billy’s someone we’re particularly proud of in the Red Sox front office, he grew up in our organisation.”
FSG, who bought the club in a deal worth about £300m in October 2010, have been working with the two US banks to see how much the club is worth, with city insiders believing it could be as much as $5bn (£4.4bn).
Earlier this year, Russian Roman Abramovich completed the sale of Chelsea to an investment group led by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in a deal advised by Goldmann Sachs placing the overall takeover value at £4.25bn.
Kennedy said: “Great companies grow by adding value to their business.
“One way to increase that value from time to time is to sell assets or add investors. Does that mean FSG is going to sell Liverpool? I do not know.
“It’s John Henry’s, Tom Werner’s and Mike Gordon’s job to responsibly run Fenway Sports Group and they felt this was an ideal time to explore possible opportunities for investment into the club.”
Under FSG’s ownership, Liverpool have won the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup twice. The club have also won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Community Shield in that time.
FSG also owns Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Liverpool’s owners ‘have got two options’
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire to Sky Sports News:
“I think they have got two options. They can take a minority investment in order to generate some cash. I think there is an alternative viewpoint that Fenway Sports Group could potentially feel that they have gone as far as they can with Liverpool FC
“They bought it for £300m, they can sell it for 12-14 times that amount [now], and they are now competing against sovereign wealth funds – we’ve added Newcastle into the mix at the top of the Premier League with the wealth of their owners – and it becomes even more of a challenge to qualify for the Champions League when you’ve got seven clubs going for four places.
“In the short term, Liverpool are in a strong financial position. Fenway Sports Group have run the club really well, they have a break-even model and they have made money in terms of transfer sales in recent years.
“For the transfer market in the very short term, I think the club will be slightly cautious at the same time Fenway Sports Group know that they have to invest in order to be competitive.
“They [FSG] have invested in infrastructure, they have taken this moneyball approach in terms of player recruitment and retention, and that means they have punched above their weight.
“If we take a look at the period since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson [at Manchester United] in 2013, Liverpool will have spent half a billion pounds less than any of the other leading clubs, compared to Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.
“And I think it’s arguable that they have probably been the only main challengers to Manchester City in the last three or four years – I know they have had a poor season so far to date – but that’s due to the way that they run the business and the way that they have targeted players.”
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