The speculation around Everton’s ownership took an unexpected turn on September 12 when news broke that 777 Partners had re-entered negotiations over the club.
The Miami-based firm initially expressed interest in a stake during the summer, and their renewed approach reportedly involves a full takeover of the Toffees.
Everton have long sought investment, partly in order to free funding for their new Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium in Liverpool. The club are struggling in the Premier League, having only escaped relegation on the final day of last season, and fans have grown restless around the club’s ownership.
Here’s what we know about 777 Partners, the latest on the company buying Everton, the other teams with which they are involved, and a look at Everton’s current ownership and history.
Who are 777 Partners? Net worth and company details
Founded in 2015, 777 Partners describe themselves as a holding firm who are “fearless disruptors” in the investment landscape.
They provide accounting, finance, human resources, procurement, marketing, legal and technology services and analytics to their operating companies.
Bosses Josh Wander and Steve Pasko say they employed almost 2,000 people by 2022. Both founders had previously worked for Florida investment firm SuttonPark Capital, and they moved their new company from New York to Miami in 2016.
777 Partners have since broadened their fields to encompass sports, media and entertainment, aviation, insurance, financial technology and litigation.
All four stands of our new stadium are now under construction! ????
Here’s your latest look at the progress being made at Bramley-Moore Dock… ???? pic.twitter.com/hpomQGBIrc
— Everton (@Everton) July 31, 2022
The first football club they invested in was Spanish side Sevilla, who have dominated the UEFA Europa League in recent seasons, and they hold controlling stakes in Genoa (Italy), Vasco da Gama (Brazil), Melbourne Victory (Australia), Standard Liege (Belgium), Red Star (France) and Hertha BSC (Germany).
Describing their values on their website, 777 Partners say they take “full accountability” for their actions. “We act like owners and operate with high integrity in everything we do, seeking to have a positive and enduring impact on the people and communities we serve,” they add.
“We are entrepreneurs who serve entrepreneurs. We seek growth and understanding and have the tenacity, ingenuity, and agility to entrepreneurially build businesses and are willing to get our hands dirty in the process.
“We win together with care, consideration, and empathy for the wellbeing of our partners and people by building lasting relationships of trust. We align incentives and operate with shared goals with our investors, employees, and partners.”
They are said to manage more than $6 billion (£4.8bn) in assets, and they spent $8.7m (£7m) on a 45% stake in the British Basketball League in 2021, having previously invested in one of the teams in the competition, London Lions. The company’s net worth is valued at around $12bn (£9.63bn).
Alongside representatives from clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Manchester City, Wander is one of the newest appointments to the board of the hugely influential European Clubs Association.
In March, Bloomberg reported that 777 Partners held early talks with PCP Capital Partners, the venture capital firm of Newcastle United co-owner Amanda Staveley.
PCP was said to be considering investing in the US firm’s multi-club model, which the report said could have potentially included funding from Magpies owners the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. No deal was ever reached.
Are 777 Partners buying Everton?
The firm held talks over acquiring a 25% stake in Everton earlier in 2023 and entered a period of exclusivity with MSP Sports Capital (MSP).
The talks collapsed when one of Everton’s lenders, Rights and Media Funding Limited, opposed the move, the Guardian reported.
The outlet said that 777 Partners’ interest in fully buying the club was another sign of their desire to own a Premier League team following talks with Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly in 2023.
The potential takeover would be subject to the Premier League’s owners and directors test, which was enhanced in March and allows for the disqualifying of directors.
The Guardian reported that there are “doubts” over whether 777 Partners would pass the test because they were accused of fraud and breach of contract in a civil case by Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, an employee at the firm between 2018 and 2021, and previously as chief commercial officer at Flair Airlines. A statement released by 777 Partners strenuously denied the allegations.
Wander was also arrested in 2003 over 31 grams of cocaine that were sent to his address in the post, which he later admitted was for him and a friend.
He was sentenced the following year on a parole that ended in 2017, calling the situation a “stupid college thing” in an interview with the Financial Times.
“All of the success that I’ve had has been in spite of the fact that every time I’ve tried to do something, somebody brings that up and throws it in my face,” he said.
“And when I got involved in investing in sports, it became a perfect opportunity for those people that are haters to try to destroy you with things that are somewhat meaningless.”
Key facts regarding 777 Partners who are close to a takeover of Everton. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/jyAlQjVAqE
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 12, 2023
Who owns Everton now?
Farhad Moshiri, a British-Iranian businessman, currently owns Everton. The Monaco-based 68-year-old has been trying to sell some of his 94% stake in the club to recapitalise the club, and his total financial commitment has been £830m ($1.04bn), according to Toffeeweb.
Moshiri was in talks at the start of 2023 with MSP over a £150m ($187.3m) deal that included £100m ($124.9m) in funding for the stadium via a loan and a 25% stake in the business, among other elements of control.
Everton have secured that loan from MSP towards the new stadium, which is scheduled to open in August 2024 and Moshiri has said will cost £760m ($950m).
Moshiri previously had a stake in Arsenal alongside Alisher Usmanov. In February 2016, Moshiri sold his stake in Arsenal to Usmanov and bought a 49.9% stake in Everton.
The 145-year-old club finished in the top 10 of the Premier League in four of the first five seasons after Moshiri became involved but have struggled badly since then and narrowly avoided relegation for a second successive season in 2022/23.
At the time of 777 Partners’ new interest being reported, Everton were in the Premier League relegation zone and had earned only one point from their first four league matches of the season.
Football clubs owned by 777 Partners: Are they successful?
The picture is mixed across 777 Partners’ clubs. Genoa, for example, were relegated from Serie A at the end of their first season of involvement, but then won immediate promotion back to the Italian top flight.
They oversaw Vasco da Gama’s promotion from Serie B in 2022, while Hertha BSC were relegated from the Bundesliga shortly after being taken over in March 2023.
Melbourne Victory lost 14 of their 26 league games on their way to an 11th-placed A-League finish in 777 Partners’ first season, and Red Star — the fourth-oldest French football club — were taken over in 2022 while in the third tier, where they have been since their relegation in 2022.
Standard Liege fans have been shown appearing to protest against the firm after missing out on European qualification in 2022/23.
????️???? #Standard Liege supporters expressing their opinion on 777 Partners tonight in the stadium : « Your Galaxy shouldn’t damaging our future! » @PhilippeAuclair #EvertonFC #RSCL #STARWD pic.twitter.com/eUFTrMnepZ
— Sacha Tavolieri (@sachatavolieri) September 2, 2023
The Liverpool Echo’s Business of Football Writer, Dave Powell, said 777 Partners “have very much got a portfolio full of distressed assets and struggling football clubs”.
“There’s been very little in terms of on-pitch success to suggest that this will be any different for Everton,” Powell told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“It’s been a really bruising few years for Everton fans, and they can’t seem to catch a break. There will be a lot of questions around whether becoming part of a larger organisation, a multi-club model where there’s been no real signal of success for many of the other clubs, is the appropriate cause of action.”
Wander has said the multi-club model can offer “value to each and every one of the clubs concerned”, which he believes “allows them to reach certain objectives”.
“There are resources at the group level, and these resources, put in place by our holding, open new opportunities for clubs,” he told L’Equipe, via GFFN, in September 2022.
“We have a platform of expertise that benefits every club in data analysis, performance and nutrition or for commercial development.”
Everton Football Club history, trophies won
Everton are the second-longest ever-present team in the English top division, with only Arsenal maintaining their top-flight status for longer.
They have been a top-flight club longer than city rivals Liverpool (since 1962/63), Manchester United (1975/76), Tottenham (1978/79), and Chelsea (1989/90).
Everton last won a major trophy in 1994/95, when they lifted the FA Cup. Paul Rideout scored the only goal of the game as Joe Royle’s side beat Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley, and the Toffees followed up their victory by beating Premier League champions Blackburn Rovers 1-0 to win the Charity Shield — now the Community Shield — three months later.
They had previously won the FA Cup in 1906, 1933, 1966 and 1984, and the Community Shield on eight occasions, including in 1986, when the trophy was shared with Liverpool after a 1-1 draw.
Everton have never won the EFL Cup, coming closest when they lost in the final in 1977 and 1984. They have only ever won one European trophy: the 1984-85 European Cup Winners’ Cup, in which they beat Bayern Munich on their way to the final, where they defeated Rapid Vienna 3-1.
Embattled Everton fans are, however, more used to seeing their players scrape to safety than compete in Europe, often through improbable late-season rallies.
They finished 17th twice in the 1990s and, despite a period of relative solidity under current West Ham United boss David Moyes (pictured above), they have slipped since his departure a decade ago.
Former England midfielder Frank Lampard guided them to 16th in 2021/22, and Sean Dyche steered them to a last-day escape after replacing Lampard midway through the 2022/23 season.