The American consortium leading the way to buy Everton believe their bid is progressing positively after they touched the club’s training ground and the site of the new stadium on Liverpool’s waterfront.
Former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is leading the group made up of real estate tycoon Maciek Kaminski and gold magnate John L. Thornton.
The three, along with their sons – Mikhail Kaminski and John-Randolph Thornton, known as JR – have held talks with Everton’s current owner Farhad Moshiri in Monaco and chairman Bill Kenwright in London. Some members of the group also traveled to Merseyside where they were also shown around Everton’s offices in Liverpool’s iconic Liver building, the Finch Farm training complex and Goodison Park.
The Athletic understands that the exclusivity deal they have agreed with Moshiri is close to expiring but there remains hope a deal can be concluded that sees the consortium become the club’s majority owners within weeks.
Other parties remain interested but, should the Kenyon-led takeover go ahead, Mikhail Kaminski could be in line for a hands-on role in the day-to-day running of the club.
His account firm, Minneapolis-based firm Talon Real Estate, owns and manages a huge portfolio of retail, office and industrial properties in America, and they are interested in the potential for hotels and other associated businesses around the Bramley-Moore stadium site in Liverpool’s North Docks.
The group have scrutinised the current plans for the stadium and the community-focused development of what will occupy the ground Goodison Park sits on in the city’s Walton district.
At this stage, it is believed Kenyon could also take a role within the club after a successful takeover but he would need to consider whether that involved moving back to the north west from Jersey, where he currently lives.
Agreeing the sale price remains one of the final barriers to the purchase. The consortium are thought to be working off an equity value of around £ 380 million.
Within the heads of terms agreement the parties are working with is also a commitment that the new owners will invest a further amount on the stadium and provide funds for team-building. This is believed to be a key element of any deal for Moshiri, who values Everton at £ 500 million.
The Iranian-born former accountant was believed to be initially reluctant to consider a deal but changed his view after early talks. The Athletic understands that he does not want to sell all of his majority shareholding.
In January he increased his stake in Everton to 94 per cent after converting a £ 100 million loan into equity. He has also spent in the region of £ 500 million on transfers and appointing new managers, without any tangible sense of progress on the pitch.
Earlier this month he broke his silence after a disastrous season that saw Everton narrowly avoid relegation to reaffirm his commitment to delivering the club’s new stadium.
It is thought that his ideal scenario would be to remain in a smaller, reduced majority owner capacity or as a significant minority shareholder. Given that he has played such a pivotal part in reviving the club’s dream of a badly-needed new stadium, he still wants to be involved in the 2024-25 season when the ground is on track to be ready.
For their part, the Kenyon-led consortium want to buy all of Moshiri’s shares eventually but could be prepared to do it incrementally.
It is unclear how exactly the distribution of shares would play out between Thornton and Kaminski, but the latter is believed to be providing more of the funding.
Kaminski ensures he keeps a low profile and Thornton is also a private individual, tempered by his involvement in some of the banking world’s top jobs. He was a senior figure at Goldman Sachs before joining the Canadian mining and gold giant Barrick Gold in 2012.
He is also a scholar who has been a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. His son JR, 30, spent time living in the Chinese capital and was an internationally-ranked junior tennis player who has written a novel, Beautiful Country, which was published in 2013.
(Top photo: Emma Simpson / Everton FC via Getty Images)