RedBird Capital Partners, the private investment firm part-owned by the former NBA star LeBron James, has bought a stake in Fenway Sports Group for about $735m (£533,000), Liverpool’s owners have confirmed.
FSG has been in negotiations with RedBird for several months as it sought investment to cushion the financial impact of the pandemic, which is understood to have cost Liverpool £120m in lost revenues over the past year. That figure is set to increase and the deal with RedBird, which will become the third-biggest partners in FSG, will enable Liverpool to continue with plans to redevelop the Anfield Road stand and invest in player recruitment at pre-pandemic levels.
RedBird’s investment is based on a valuation for FSG of $7.35bn. Liverpool’s owners believe the deal will provide continuity and stability for the organisation, rather than a windfall for the football club or the Boston Red Sox baseball team they own, with several shareholders diluting their stake to allow James, Maverick Carter and their longtime business partner Paul Wachter to become part of the FSG ownership group.
The Red Sox president and CEO, Sam Kennedy, will also become a partner in FSG. RedBird, founded by the former Goldman Sachs partner Gerry Cardinale, has purchased about 10% of FSG. A portion of the investment will be new capital that will allow FSG to reduce the debts incurred over the past 12 maande.