Everton 777 takeover: Club receive delayed loan payment

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Fresh doubts have emerged over 777 Partners’ ability to fund a takeover of Everton after it was late in making a loan payment of around £15million to the Premier League club.

Miami-based 777 has been providing Everton with funding to cover working capital and new stadium costs since agreeing a takeover deal with the club’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri in September.

However, a fresh injection of £15m, expected earlier this month, had not arrived by Monday morning, prompting concerns over Everton’s ability to meet its cost base.

Club officials stressed that all staff salaries had already been paid regardless, as is usual on the final working day of every month, with confirmation of 777’s new funding then arriving later on Monday. The new £15m payment, which is expected to go towards the new stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock, means the group has now loaned Everton just under £200m since September.

777 is currently trying to find the finance to complete what has become a protracted takeover. The Athletic reported last month that the Premier League was finally “minded to approve” the deal, subject to certain conditions being met. One of those involved the repayment of a £158m loan to the club from another U.S. consortium, MSP Sports Capital, by April 15.

That has become a major stumbling block, with 777 and MSP having agreed a temporary extension, amounting to “weeks rather than months” according to those familiar with the situation, in a bid to get the deal over the line. MSP’s deal with Moshiri contains a clause where it could assume a 51 per cent shareholding in the club should he or his proxies in this case, 777 default on the terms of the loan. Financial firm Deloitte has since been asked to look for funding to help 777 pay off MSP and complete the deal.

In further developments, Teneo, a UK-based PR firm employed by 777, has downed tools over unpaid bills, while Bonza, an Australian budget airline also owned by the group, also abruptly halted operations this week.

Bonza’s fleet was repossessed by an aircraft leasing company in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with CEO Tim Jordan later saying in a statement that discussions were under way “regarding the viability of the business”. 777 has been pursued in the UK for almost £24m in unpaid aircraft leasing fees and damages.

Reports elsewhere on Monday suggested that Teneo’s financial advisory division has been approached by Everton to advise on debt restructuring solutions should 777’s takeover not go through.

Everton chose not to comment on those reports. Representatives for 777 and Moshiri were also contacted by The Athletic.

(Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

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