By Dominic King for the Daily Mail and Nathan Salt For Mailonline
Fenway Sports Group are prepared to sell their controlling stake in Liverpool and have made the first significant move in ending their 12-year ownership of the club.
Investment banks Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been enlisted by FSG to assist in the process of finding a party who would either be prepared to pump money for a percentage – or buy Liverpool outright.
There was willingness from sources close to FSG to insist that they will remain at the helm for the foreseeable future and this is simply a case of looking for ways to bring in fresh investment – something they have always actively sought in the past.
But it is understood an Information Memorandum was sent out to potential buyers last month, which is effectively a sales document, and that indicates there is a significant difference to how situations have been in the past.
The timing of this development is significant and it is believed the failure for a breakaway European Super League to get up and running in 2021 and the £4.25 billion sale of Chelsea in May have both been significant factors in FSG’s decision to test the market interest in Liverpool.
When asked about this on Monday, sources in Boston refused to provide any confirmation nor would they give any indication about whether principal investor John W Henry, Chairman Tom Werner or President Mike Gordon would attend this weekend’s home game against Southampton.
At the beginning of 2021, RedBird Capital, headed by the American billionaire Gerry Cardinale, bought a 10 per cent stake in FSG, which at the time was valued at £543million. RedBird were once speculated as a potential buyer of Liverpool but they recently bought Serie A giants AC Milan.
Fenway Sports Group (owners John W Henry, second left, and Tom Werner, second from right) have announced they are ‘inviting offers’ to sell Liverpool in a dramatic ownership update
As of May 2022, Forbes valued Liverpool at $4.45billion as one of England’s biggest teams
FSG paid £300m for Liverpool when they bought the club – who were then on the brink of administration after failed Tom Hicks-George Gillet regime – in October 2010 but it is estimated they could achieve anything up towards £4billion if they cash in now.
In a statement, FSG said: ‘There have been a number of recent changes of ownership and rumours of changes in ownership at EPL clubs and inevitably we are asked regularly about Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in Liverpool.
‘FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool. FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions, we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club.
‘FSG remains fully committed to the success of Liverpool, both on and off the pitch.’
During their 12 years as owners, Liverpool have won eight major honours, including the Premier League and Champions League. FSG have also overseen a huge transformation of Anfield, with the capacity set to reach 61,000 next season when the new £60m Anfield Road End opens.
Henry (middle) and Werner purchased the club from George Gillett and Tom Hicks in 2010
Since hiring Jurgen Klopp (second from left) FSG have enjoyed incredible success at Liverpool
The group drew criticism in 2019 when they attempted to trademark the name Liverpool.
Supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly strongly opposed the bid and successfully lobbied against the move.
Henry also publicly addressed fans last year to apologise for Liverpool’s part in a foiled European Super League breakaway.
‘I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours,’ he said.
‘It goes without saying but should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans. No-one ever thought differently in England.
‘Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you.’
Henry and wife Linda celebrating Liverpool’s Champions League triumph back in 2019
A year earlier, amid the global coronavirus pandemic, FSG were heavily criticised for deciding to furlough their non-playing staff.
It forced a quick U-turn from the owners.
Liverpool turned over £533m in that financial year and made a profit of £42m – and yet they chose to take up the government scheme where staff received 20 per cent less pay.
Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher labelled it a ‘big mistake’ at the time and was backed up by then-chief executive Peter Moore.
Four of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United – are owned by Americans and FSG’s bombshell statement comes as major news.
Nine clubs in the Premier League are totally, or partially, owned by Americans following a US-ownership boom in the last two decades.
FSG have poured more than £190million into renovating Anfield and increasing capacity
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