European football, a haven for American investors. Miami-based investment fund 777 Partners finalizes the purchase of Genoa FC, of the Italian
European football, a haven for American investors. Miami-based investment fund 777 Partners finalizes the purchase of Genoa FC, of the Italian Serie A, in an operation that is expected to be announced in the coming days and that represents another step in the spread of North American money in clubs of up to eleven countries of the old continent. To date, there are a total of 45 teams whose majority partner is American, according to a report by Cies Sports Intelligence.
777 Partners is one step away from making the leap to Italian Serie A. The fund, which owns 5% of Sevilla FC, finalizes the signing of an agreement for the purchase of the Genoese club. Enrico Preziosi, owner and president of Genoa, has the intention to close the sale of the club in mid-September for 150 million euros. The latest transaction of this nature in the Italian market was the acquisition of Fiorentina by Rocco B. Commisso for 165 million euros in June 2019.
The last two American investments in European football have been in Italy: first in Ascoli and now in Genoa FC
The fund is present on the Sevilla board of directors through the company Sevillistas Unidos 2020, which controls 12% of the capital. Last October, it reached an agreement with José María Del Nido to take control of the club, which has not yet come to fruition, with an eye toward doubling its budget within five years.
At the beginning of September, the last American investment in Italian soccer took place. The family office New York-based North Sixth Group acquired a stake in Ascoli FC, in alliance with Massimo Pulcinelli and Bricofer, a company specialized in the household and DIY sector in Italy, becoming the owner of 31% of the Serie B club, with options to expand it to 51% at the end of the season to change of about twenty million euros.
The interest of North American investors in European football has recently accelerated, to the point that 64% of club acquisitions have been completed in the last three years, after a few months conducive to this type of operation.
US investors prefer the UK, where they control 19 clubs
Pacific Media Group, Partners Path Capital, Randy Frankel, Chien Lee and Krishen Sud have taken control of the FC Den Bosch, of the Dutch second division. While billionaire Joe Mansueto, owner of the MLS Chicago Fire FC, has taken over the FC Lugano, of the Swiss super league. And American real estate developer M. Patrick Carroll has joined Joe Tacopina as an investor in the Spal, from the Italian Serie B.
The UK market is the most attractive to investors considering the number of clubs they control, a total of nineteen sports entities distributed between England and Scotland, from the powerful Arsenal (Stan Kroenke), Liverpool (Fenway Sports Group) or Manchester United (Glazer family) of the Premier League to clubs of the third category of English football, such as Ipswich Town (Brett Johnson).
The clubs of the Championship, the second English division, are the most sought after by foreign investors, to the point that almost 60% of the teams participating in the competition in the 2021-2022 season have a non-English owner.
Italy is another market for American money, which currently controls up to eight clubs, pending the completion of the transaction between 777 Partners and Genoa FC. As in the case of the United Kingdom, investments go beyond Serie A, the Italian first division, where the cases of AC Milan (Elliott Management Corporation), AS Roma (Dan Friedkin) or AFC Fiorentina (Rocco Commisso) stand out.
In Spain, US investors control two teams: RCD Mallorca and UD Alcorcón
France and Denmark, with five and four clubs respectively, are other countries with a large presence of US investors. Instead, in Spain there are only two clubs in which the decisions are made by investors of said origin, the RCD Mallorca, recently promoted to the First Division, and the UD Alcorcón, Second Division.
In January 2016, Liga Acq Legacy Partners, a group led by the American millionaire Robert Sarver, owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, became the largest shareholder of RCD Mallorca upon signing practically the entire capital increase, for an amount of more than twenty million euros.
In June 2019, Iván Bravo and the American investment fund Best Navy bought the Alcorcón, in an operation valued at around fourteen million euros. The property passed into the hands of Best Navy, an investment vehicle led by David Blitzer, co-owner of the Crystal Palace of the Premier League and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, and by a group of partners led by Iván Bravo, general director of the Aspire Academy and former director of strategy for Real Madrid.
Finally, Ireland, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland are countries in which there is also a presence of North American investors, although with presence in only one club in each of those countries.