In October, the Wall Street Journal reported some details about a deal for RedBall Acquisitions Corporation to buy a minority stake in Fenway Sports Group. RedBall was looking for a 20-25% stake in FSG, which includes Liverpool, the Boston Red Sox, and stakes in a NASCAR team among other holdings. FSG is currently valued for approximately $8 billion. Today, news broke that the deal is now dead in the water.
Dan Primack, a contributor for Axios, wrote that RedBall, co-chaired by Billy Beane of Moneyball fame and banker/investor Gerry Cardinale, failed to generate enough outside funds to buy their stake despite a promising IPO. With RedBall being a publicly traded company, it would have allowed people to buy stock to own shares of Liverpool and the other FSG holdings after a reverse merger (which I absolutely knew was a thing 10 minutes ago). The deal would have also provided a nice injection of capital for the teams under the FSG umbrella, especially at a time with so much financial uncertainty due to the covid-19 pandemic. It was still not clear just how much would have been made available to Liverpool specifically and how the money might have been used.
There is still a chance the RedBall could continue to negotiate with FSG for a private equity stake, or both parties could opt to move on. FSG have long been open to selling a minority stake in Liverpool, but have no intentions to sell the club outright.