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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Who is Dan Friedkin? The American billionaire in line to buy Everton Football Club

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AS Roma owner Dan Friedkin has agreed a deal to buy out Everton majority owner Farhad Moshiri, according to multiple reports.

The Texas-based Friedkin Group has been offered the chance to buy Moshiri’s 94 per cent stake in the club, and is set to make a final decision over the next 24 hours.

It would bring an end to a long-running saga around the future of the Premier League club, which has taken a number of twists and turns. Only last week, a consortium of international investors led by a London-based businessman submitted a £400m all-equity bid for the Merseyside club. Vatche Manoukian had been in contact with Moshiri for weeks as he planned his approach, before making the offer.

Manoukian had also conducted conversations with Everton’s current debtholders. Everton owe £160m to MSP Sports Capital, Andy Bell and George Downing and £225m to Rights & Media Funding. They were loaned around £200m by 777 Partners during their protracted attempt to buy the club, with A-Cap now taking over the interest of the crisis-hit Miami-based firm.

Everton did not comment, but it appears Friedkin is now leading the race and could be confirmed as Everton’s new owner imminently.

Vatche Manoukian, consortium lead and Partner at IMS, said: “Everton fans deserve to be competing for trophies once again and we hope this deal delivers success for the club on and off the pitch. I want to thank our world-class investors for their support and we are excited to turn our focus to new opportunities to take great clubs to the next level.”

Farhad Moshiri (right) is hoping to sell Everton quickly

Farhad Moshiri (right) is hoping to sell Everton quickly (Getty Images)

Who is Dan Friedkin?

Friedkin is a 59-year-old billionaire businessman who owns the Friedkin Group, which in turn owns Gulf States Toyota Distributors, based in Houston, Texas – which does what it says on the tin, distributing Toyotas around the US.

Friedkin comes from a line of wealthy American businessmen and pilots. His grandfather, Kenny Friedkin, founded Pacific Southwest Airlines in 1949, which was later sold to US Airways. Kenny’s son Thomas H Friedkin was also a pilot and part-time stuntman, who continued the business and successfully invested in Toyota distribution during the 1960s.

Dan Friedkin took charge of the family business at the turn of the century and branched out into the movie industry, acquiring production company Neon, which produced the Oscar-winning Parasite. He also co-founded the studio Imperative Entertainment. Friedkin doesn’t just watch from the sidelines, and won an award for ‘best speciality stunt’ after landing a 76-year-old Spitfire on the beach for the Hollywood blockbuster movie Dunkirk.

The Group also owns luxury resorts, hotels and property around the world.

Friedkin bought Roma in August 2020 for around £465m. The new ownership hired Paulo Fonseca as manager and later replaced him with Jose Mourinho, who guided the club to victory in the inaugural Europa Conference League. Mourinho was sacked in January and replaced by club legend Daniele De Rossi on a temporary basis.

At the time of buying Roma, Friedkin described it as not just another business deal but “a passion – a passion for the city, for the team, for the people, and for football.”

Of his approach to owning a football club, he explained: “We intend to listen a lot – and we have already been listening – and what we have heard so far is that the fans want three things – a team to be proud of, a club that appreciates, understands and shares their passion, and an ownership that is both present and honest.

“We vow to work tirelessly to build a team that the fans can be proud of for many years to come.”

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