Everton urged to abandon 777 takeover with ‘credible’ investors waiting


Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has been told by the club’s shareholders association to abandon the protracted 777 Partners takeover, a deal that insiders believe is beginning to “unravel”.

Although the Miami-based investment firm were privately speaking of their confidence at brokering a deal for Everton as recently as this weekend, they are facing mounting issues including a civil lawsuit filed in New York on Friday by UK-based lender Leadenhall Capital Partners that accused them of fraud worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

It is alleged that 777 “pledged” assets as collateral for a credit facility which either did not exist or had already been pledged to other lenders, with the 82-page filing accusing the group of being a “house of cards ready to collapse”. 777 Partners declined to comment on the civil case when contacted by i.

Alarm bells around their ability to broker the Everton takeover grew last week when the group’s Australian budget airline Bonza collapsed into administration last week. The PR company representing them in the UK “paused” their relationship with 777 over late payment of bills.

Despite all of that, 777 made a further payment of £15m last week to cover Everton’s running costs – with sources close to Moshiri pointing out the group had fulfilled every payment asked of them.

But there are now mounting and serious doubts about whether 777 have access to the funds required to be able to fulfil the requirements placed on them by the Premier League to approve the takeover.

The payment made last weekend guarantees Everton will get to the end of the season – a campaign where they have secured survival despite an eight-point deduction for breaching spending rules – but what comes after that feels increasingly uncertain.

Although i has been told it is “business as usual” for Everton staff, the club have held talks with debt restructuring advisers as contingency planning for what comes if the 777 deal falls through runs parallel to the supposed optimism from Moshiri’s side.

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