Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are still considering acquiring a Brazilian football team, although serious talks have yet to take place, according to reports in the South American country.
FSG is keen to expand its sporting empire after adding the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL team to its stable of clubs which includes the Boston Red Sox baseball team and NASCAR outfit RFK Racing as well as the Reds.
And although an NBA team is supposed to be at the top of their wish list in 2022, they would still have their eye on football clubs to add, with Brazil considered ripe for investment due to an ongoing change in organizational structure that would allow for a greater voice. clubs on revenue distribution, relatively cheap club valuations and a huge passionate fanbase that put football above all others.
Liverpool were linked with a possible deal to buy Cruzeiro in December, a deal that was eventually agreed by former Barcelona hero and Brazil legend Ronaldo. Since then, deals have been struck in Botafogo by Crystal Palace investor John Textor and in Vasco da Gama by 777 Partners, the private equity firm that owns the Italian part of Genoa. Manchester City owners City Football Group have been linked with a move to take over at Bahia in recent weeks.
A number of Brazilian clubs are changing their mode of governance, which has opened up opportunities for outside investment.
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With some needing to raise funds to cope with the impact of the pandemic, some clubs are now transitioning from a non-profit entity to a business in a bid to restructure their finances, forming a “Sociedade Anônima” (SA) to attract investors. This alerted interested parties, including a number in the United States.
And reports from one of Brazil’s biggest sports outlets, UOL Esporte, suggest it’s something on the FSG’s agenda.
The report stated: “As Fenway’s entry into Brazilian football is something embryonic, which is under consideration, there are still no more substantial negotiations underway with a national team.
“What we know so far is that the group has no intention of buying a club in Brazil just to extract players from the local scene and profit from selling them to Europe. (perhaps in Liverpool itself).
“The North American fund, if it really does visit ‘soccer country’, would like to put together a team to fight for the most important titles and also make money from rewards and merchandising. Therefore , the preference is to buy a club which is already in Serie A and which is poorly structured.”
The report also states that FSG did not officially take part in the bidding process for Cruzeiro before Ronaldo acquired the team, nor did they make a proposal. They do, however, note Fortaleza and Club Athletico Paranaense as two clubs that could well be on the radar, although no formal discussions have taken place.
Since RedBird Capital Partners joined FSG following a $750 million deal for 11% of Reds owners in March 2021, FSG has been considering new sports properties.
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The influx of capital was designed to do two things; to help them get through the pandemic, stay on track with projects, and also to help them grow the business through acquisitions. That’s something that happened before with the Penguins takeover in November in a deal that valued the Pittsburgh team at nearly $900 million.
“The bar has never been higher in terms of what really fits into the portfolio (FSG),” explained Gerry Cardinale, founder and managing partner of RedBird Capital, in an interview with the Boston Globe last week.
“You should consider us looking to add other teams and the businesses around them, you should consider us building businesses within the platform itself.
Cardinale, who told the Globe that another football team, potentially from another continent, could be on the agenda, added: “It’s all in the balance, I would say.”
The next 12-18 months will see FSG add more sports teams to their empire, with a potential NBA expansion franchise in Las Vegas as the rumored landing spot.
This will be a period of growth for the company, a period where the focus will be on driving values up, maximizing existing revenue streams and creating new ones, potentially acquiring businesses to help them achieve this. , with reinvestment in their teams to generate revenue. generate projects that are part of the plan. For Liverpool, this is where their growth will come from within.