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‘Dont sell assets’ – John Henry outlines FSG future at Liverpool

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By Abbas Vadiwala

John Henry issues response when asked if he plans to sell Liverpool

Liverpool’s primary owner, John Henry, has hinted at the possibility of Fenway Sports Group considering the sale of the Reds. Between late 2022 and mid-2023, Liverpool attracted significant speculation regarding a potential sale by FSG after the owners initiated discussions about the club’s potential sale in November 2022.

Quickly, attention shifted from soliciting interest for a complete sale to pursuing a minority investor. This deal was finalized in September of last year, with New York-based Dynasty Equity acquiring a single-digit percentage stake in the club at a valuation of $5 billion. The agreement was made to raise funds aimed at reducing bank debt, thus enhancing the club’s cash flow situation by eliminating interest payments on debt, which would consequently benefit the club’s financial position going forward.

John Henry issues response when asked if he plans to sell Liverpool
John Henry issues response when asked if he plans to sell Liverpool (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The club’s initial decision to explore a sale was motivated by the intention to gauge market interest in the club and its valuation. Sources in the US familiar with the situation consistently informed the ECHO that a complete sale was not being considered.

In a March interview exclusive to the ECHO last year, Henry, the principal owner of the Reds, affirmed that FSG’s dedication to the club was “stronger than ever.” Now, 15 months later, a new chapter is set to unfold on the field next season under Arne Slot, who was appointed head coach to succeed the legendary figure of Jurgen Klopp, concluding his nine-year tenure as manager last month.

Once again, Henry has faced inquiries regarding the potential sale of Liverpool and the interest in selling their other sports assets, namely the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Henry communicated his stance via emails to the Financial Times:

“My wife and I live and work in Boston. We are committed to the city, the region. So the Sox are not going to come up for sale. We generally don’t sell assets.”

The absence of a direct statement ruling out the possibility of selling Liverpool is likely to fuel speculation on social media, but for FSG, the value of Liverpool has never solely rested on annual dividends from the club’s profits; it’s been about generating value and exiting on a high note.

While they will eventually conclude their ownership of Liverpool, sources close to FSG in the US have informed the ECHO that this exit isn’t imminent. There’s still significant potential for value creation and opportunities with Liverpool, particularly with the burgeoning interest in soccer and the Premier League in the US. The Reds already have a substantial presence in the US, providing a solid foundation for future growth.

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The establishment of FSG International, under the leadership of CEO Billy Hogan, will incorporate another football club into the FSG portfolio to support Liverpool’s long-term objectives. Although FSG’s plans for Liverpool are geared towards the long term, the emotional attachment to Liverpool isn’t as strong as it is in Boston, implying an eventual exit strategy will be implemented.