It’s an open secret that John Henry and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) has been looking for investment for a minority stake in the organization. It’s also an open secret that investor Gerry Cardindale has been interested in Liverpool and FSG for a while now. Cardindale initially teamed up with Billy Bean to create RedBall, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, that had an IPO. Redball looked to buy into FSG last year, looking for a 20-25% stake, but the deal fell through just over a month ago when RedBall couldn’t raise sufficient funds.
Well, it looks like Cardindale is back, this time using his privately owned RedBird Capital Partners. This time, Sportico is reporting that Cardindale and RedBird Capital Partners are reportedly in advanced negotiations to get a 10% stake in FSG, which includes Liverpool, the Boston Red Sox, Rousch Fenway Racing, and the New England Sports Network broadcasting company.
So, assuming the deal goes through, what exactly does this mean for Liverpool? Michael Edwards will be looking to sign both Kylian Mbappé AND Erling Haaland, right?
While fans may be excited for a large infusion of cash in the transfer market, that may not be the end result. The money is investment across all of FSG properties, so while Liverpool may see a significant portion, don’t expect to spend like Manchester City. And the money allocated for Liverpool may not be just for player acquisitions. Liverpool and FSG just spent a significant sum on building a new training facility, and are in the process of expanding the Anfield Road end. Cash could go towards buying down debt for these big construction projects.
While there are certainly some un-sexy uses of potential funds coming Liverpool’s way, there would definitely be some side benefits to the deal beyond just cash. RedBird Capital bought Toulouse FC of Ligue 2 in France last year. With Brexit now in place, the Liverpool Echo postulates that Liverpool could form an unofficial partnership with the French side to stash young and season young talent until they can qualify for a work permit. FSG have reportedly been exploring building a network of teams like Red Bull or City Group have. This could be the start of a more unofficial group of partnerships, more similar to Chelsea.
There is also an additional angle as far as players are concerned. RedBird Capital is also an investor in Wasserman Media, which is a sports marketing and talent agency. Wasserman Media represents Joe Gomez, as well as players who have been linked to Liverpool in Houssem Aouar and Harvey Barnes.
While the deal still needs to be finalized, it does seem like an overall positive for FSG and Liverpool. It also seems that FSG are making moves looking at the longer term picture for Liverpool, and don’t seem to be divesting themselves of the club anytime soon.