Tom Werner has broken the brief silence surrounding the prospective sale of Liverpool by Fenway Sports Group – saying that they are ‘exploring’ selling the club.
News broke earlier this month that the American owners were looking to end their 12-year ownership of Liverpool through the selling off of their controlling stake in the club.
Speaking to the Boston Globe, chairman Werner confirmed that they were exploring the possibility of a sale but that there was ‘no urgency and no timeframe to do so’.
‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s business as usual. One outcome could be our continued stewardship for quite a while.’
Meanwhile, Sam Kennedy, president of the Red Sox baseball franchise and FSG partner added: ‘There has been a lot of interest from numerous potential partners considering investment into the club.
‘It is early days in terms of exploring possibilities for possible investment into Liverpool. Great companies grow by adding value to their business.
Fenway Sports Group (owners John W Henry, second left, and Tom Werner, second from right) have said that they are exploring the sale of Liverpool Football Club
It has been suggested that the collapse of the Super League project is part of the reason as to why they are looking to sell the club
‘One way to increase that value from time to time is to sell assets or add investors. Does that mean FSG is going to sell Liverpool? I do not know.
‘It’s [principal owner] John Henry’s, Tom Werner’s and Mike Gordon’s job to responsibly run Fenway Sports Group and they felt this was an ideal time to explore possible opportunities for investment into the club.’
Such statements leave the door ajar for a number of outcomes for Liverpool, with it having been mooted that they could look to sell the club or seek further investment.
It was revealed earlier this month by the Mail on Sunday that Liverpool were in talks with a US-based buyer over the sale of the club for an under-value £2.7billion.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were hired after the approach with Liverpool’s owners, the Mail on Sunday revealed, happy with the figure offered owing to it still representing an enormous profit on the price they initially paid in 2010.
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Boston Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca have been linked. The Ricketts family, who pulled out of the bidding for Chelsea at the last, are not said to be interested in Liverpool.
Reports in the Middle East suggested Dubai International Capital ‘could be eyeing’ a deal to buy the club.
Liverpool were initially put up for sale at the beginning of the month but Werner’s statement has provided clarity to the situation
Sources have reported that additional potential buyers have registered their interest since then.
‘There have been a number of recent changes of ownership and rumours of changes in ownership at Premier League clubs and inevitably we are asked regularly about Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in Liverpool,’ an FSG statement read on November 8.
‘FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool.
‘FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club.’
Since hiring Jurgen Klopp (second from left) FSG have enjoyed incredible success at Liverpool
It was reported that an Information Memorandum was sent out to potential buyers in October – effectively a sales document – opening up the asset to potential bidders.
FSG bought Liverpool for £300m off Tom Hicks and George Gillett and have turned the Merseyside club back into one of the foremost football institutions on the planet, ending the club’s 30-year wait for a league title and winning their sixth Champions League as well as reaching two further finals.
Their success in charge of Liverpool since they bought the club in October 2010 has seen its value skyrocket, with Forbes valuing them at £3.6billion in May. Chelsea sold for £4.45billon not long after that, with Liverpool’s owners capable of acquiring more than that – though £1.75billion of that was for future investment.
Sam Kennedy, the Red Box CEO and FSG partner, explained that value could be added through the sale of assets or adding investors
RedBird Captial Partners, a private investment firm, owns a 10 per cent stake in FSG last year after purchasing it for £533m.
The sale of Chelsea, unlike Liverpool, had to be urgent with Roman Abramovich sanctioned and with the club increasingly finding itself unable to perform day-to-day tasks, such as selling home tickets.
It is believed the failed attempt to form a part of the European Super League is behind their new-found willingness to sell the club.
Liverpool were part of a cabal of major European clubs that announced in April 2021 that they planned to break from UEFA to form their own continental competition. The plan, however, was foiled within days not least due to supporters of the English clubs involved staging protests outside of their respective stadiums.
It is believed that the club, if sold, will go for more than what Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea
Henry is a businessman and like all successful businessmen he wanted assurances over revenue streams – namely, the riches of the UEFA Champions League.
A Super League would have ringfenced unparalleled riches at the expense of genuine competition and given Liverpool look far from certain of a top four finish this season, it likely only reinforces his frustration at the ESL’s downfall.
Fan groups were furious with him and he eventually produced an on-camera apology to suggest he got it wrong.
‘I want to apologise to all the fans and supporters of Liverpool Football Club for the disruption I caused over the past 48 hours,’ he said.
As of May 2022, Forbes valued Liverpool at $4.45billion as one of England’s biggest teams
‘It goes without saying but should be said that the project put forward was never going to stand without the support of the fans. No-one ever thought differently in England.
‘Over these 48 hours you were very clear that it would not stand. We heard you. I heard you.’
FSG was formed in 2001 and has since enjoyed remarkable success across baseball and football, deploying what has come to be known as the ‘Moneyball’ strategy of recruiting and building teams.