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Are 777 Partners FIT and PROPER?

5 minute read Published May 14, 2024

Multi club ownership has recently become a topic of discussion. More and more owners are pursuing the strategy. There are legitimate questions surrounding it, like if larger club and a smaller club belong to the same owner, will the little club be allowed to 

Another development in the discussion is the recent rise of Girona in Spain. The little club is owned by the City Football Group (CFG). This season they’ll finish in the Spanish Champions League spots. However, only one team from the same ownership group can play in the competition. This means that CFG will have to sell a big piece of a club or one of them won’t get to play.

That’s what happens when two clubs in the same group do well. There’s a flip side. Multi club owners that seem to do nothing but ruin the clubs that they buy. Such as the owner of, among others, Genoa and Standard Liege – 777 Partners. The same company that is now trying to buy Everton.

777 Partners

777 Partners is an American investment company. It made most of its money initially owning a company called Liberty. Liberty makes money from “settlement funding”. For example, when someone wins a medical or injury lawsuit they’re often paid out in annuities or instalments. Liberty then buys that annuity for a lump sum. Very American. 

This practice, and specifically the way Liberty does is, has been heavily criticised. It preys on people who are in a bad spot. They’ve been said to target poor people or those with addiction issues. 

Move Into Football

After buying a minority stake in Sevilla in 2018, 777 Partners committed fully to football by buying Italy’s oldest, active team – Genoa. The takeover happened in September of 2021 and that season, 21/22, Genoa finished second to last. They were demoted to the Serie B after spending 15 seasons in the top tier.

It was a tough transition from part ownership to full ownership. They did quickly get promoted back to the Serie A, the very next season in fact. This season, they’re in 11th. 

Standard Liege

Standard Liege was the third club bought by 777 Partners. Standard is one of the most successful clubs in Belgian football history. At the time of the purchase however, they were in dire straits. Just like the other clubs the investment firm has bought. 

Standard had a negative cash balance and performance had been dropping off. 777 Partners, eventually having had a pretty successful first experience with Genoa, saw a similar opportunity and in April of 2022, they bought the club. This would not turn out the same.

Standard fans showing how they feel about 777 Partners.

The new ownership has been unable to turn the club around. In fact, things have turned from bad to worse for the almost 130 year old club. When they initially came in, they increased the wage bill to push for one of six European spots available in the Belgian league. But when they failed to qualify, losses continued and even increased. In 2023 the club posted a loss of €34 million. 

Since the takeover the club has been handed three separate transfer bans, all for financial reasons. They’ve failed to pay transfer fees, player wages and social fees. For an owner with multiple clubs, this ruins not only the current clubs trust, but how can any of their clubs be trusted?

Additionally, the previous owner of the clubs has not yet been fully paid, even two years since 777 Partners took control of the club. He’s now started legal proceedings in the case in order to start seizing assets. So, you have to wonder, what happens to the rest of their clubs, if Standard is in such a bad way?

Everton Takeover

Everton are currently taking on a huge project in building a new stadium but it’s not cheap. The club has been posting losses to the extent where they got a points deduction this season and they might just get another one. 

It’s not that the current owner, Farhad Moshiri, has been cheap. It’s just that the investments that have been made haven’t really worked out. The players they’ve bought to push for European football haven’t worked out so they’re missing out on that money. The value of those players has also dropped so they’ve lost money transfer wise.

That’s why 777 Partners have approached the club. It’s the way they do their business. They buy “distressed assets”, as it’s called in the investing world, and turn them around. The problem? They might not be very good at it. It’s either that or malicious intent.

The firm claims to only invest their owners money, not outside capital. Meanwhile, they’re buying clubs on a scale that only sovereign wealth funds have been able to. It seems like the way they’re funding their business is buying one club, loaning against its assets to fund the other clubs. That might be the reason they’re so keen on Everton, to loan against its assets to dig themselves out of the hole they’re in in the other clubs.

Are They Fit and Proper?

As the takeover still seems to be moving forward, you have to ask, are they fit and proper? The assessment all new club owners go through has failed before

Firstly, it’s the way the company made its money. Through exploiting the poor and addicted. There are however plenty of club owners that have made their money in 

Then there’s the disaster at Standard Liege. Does English football want an owner that would treat the club in such a way? Not paying transfer fees and player salaries. 

Lastly, it’s the question of financing. How does the American investment firm fund all of this? Could it really be just the owners' money or have they been loaning huge amounts of money to pay for the next club, and would Everton just be an asset to loan against?

Let’s hope Everton finds an owner that has the club's best interests in mind. It’s not 777 Partners. Luckily, it seems as if Farhad Moshiri is backing away from this deal.

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