Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri increases Everton FC shareholding to 68.6%

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Iranian businessman and investor Ardavan Farhad Moshiri has become the majority shareholder of Premier League club Everton after increasing his stakes form 49.9 per cent to 68.6 per cent this week.

Farhad Moshiri had acquired 49.90% shares of the English top-tier football club in February 2016. The 63-year-old Monaco resident, since then, continued to purchase shares from club chairman Bill Kenwright, director Jon Woods and long-term shareholder Arthur Abercromby.

Woods, a former video game producer, had relinquished complete control after transferring all of his shares to Moshiri. The Iranian’s overall stake is now expected to rise further to 77.2% by July 2019.

Moshiri, according to The Guardian, paid $113.8 million (£87.5m) for his original 49.9 per cent stake in 2016, valuing the club at $227.7 million (£175m). At that time, Kenwright sold around half his 26 per cent stake, being paid approximately $29.6 million (£22.75m), and he retained 13 per cent until this latest sale.

According to a club statement, Moshiri has acquired an 18.7 per cent share through Blue Heaven Holdings Ltd, with additional shares – including those from Kenwright – expected to be purchased by next summer as Everton look to secure funding for the construction of their proposed new stadium.

The financial terms of the deal that includes the amount paid by Moshiri to the three shareholders and the proportions in which they have sold their shares this time has not been revealed.

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Everton is preparing to move away from Goodison Park to Bramley Moore Dock before the 2022/23 season. It is hoped that Moshiri’s latest commitment to the club will suit potential investors for the new stadium, for which Everton are hoping to have planning granted for by next summer.

Everton’s most recent accounts, for the year to 31st May 2017, noted a £104 million post-takeover loan from Moshiri to Everton that went towards repaying its debts and for investment. Since then, with Moshiri’s financial backing, Everton have spent more heavily on players than they were previously able to, paying a net £68.6 million this summer.

Moshiri first invested in Everton after selling his stake in fellow Premier League club Arsenal to his long-term business partner Alisher Usmanov. The Uzbek recently sold his share in the North London club to American owner Stan Kroenke.

Reports suggested that Usmanov may have been preparing a bid to invest in Everton alongside Moshiri though this never materialised, with both men denying such plans. Usmanov’s USM holdings agreed on a five-year deal to sponsor Everton’s training ground in January 2017.

Moshiri was born in Iran, and his parents left just before the revolution in 1979. He was educated at University College London, and trained in the UK as a chartered certified accountant. Apart from business interest in football, Moshiri owns and has shares in numerous steel and energy companies in the UK and Russia.

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