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Russian Billionaire

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Talks have been ongoing between a London based represenative of a Russian Billionaire and Bill Kenwright.

 

They have been ongoing since before Newcastle game if rumours are to be believed.

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Possibly Mikhail Khodorkovsky

 

From toffeeweb:

 

EFC-related forums and websites are abuzz with rumours that Bill Kenwright and the Board are in talks with an unnamed Russian billionaire about a possible buy-out of Everton Football Club.

 

We have, of course, been here before but sources suggest the interest is firm. A few years ago, Kenwright announced that he was in negotiations with Russian paper magnate, Boris Zingarovich, and his son, Anton, regarding the purchase of an eventual majority stake in the club.

 

Then there was the Fortress Sports Fund "bid" co-ordinated by Geneva-based businessman, Chris Samuelson. But after leading the media and the fans on a merry dance for months, it eventually emerged that the whole thing had been a mechanism for forcing Paul Gregg out of Everton; FSF may have existed but the Board had no intention of selling up.

 

That has remained the situation since. Rumour has it that CEO Keith Wyness — and, perhaps, Samuelson as well (it is believed that he continues to search for investment for EFC) — have brought interested investors to Kenwright's attention but he has not been interested in relinquishing control of the club he purchased from Peter Johnson seven years ago.

 

This time it could be different. Facing unprecedented cash demands from David Moyes in order to strengthen the squad for a serious crack at Champions League qualification and another long run in next season's Uefa Cup but without the funds to provide it without a further cash injection from Robert Earl and, perhaps, Sir Philip Green — not to mention escalating projected costs for an increasingly unpopular move to Kirkby — Kenwright is believed to be considering giving up control.

 

Long-time friend and financier Green is reportedly looking at switching his interest to Tottenham Hotspur and Earl's continued investment may have always been tied to the success of Destination Kirkby, where retail and leisure opportunities provided potential for a good return on that investment. With that project under threat by rising costs and local opposition that may force the Tesco-backed initiative to be called in by the Government, the Planet Hollywood entrepreneur may be reconsidering his options.

 

That leaves John Woods, the most elusive of the remaining Board members, and, again, rumour has it that he could now be prepared to sell his stake in the club too.

 

Most of this is conjecture but Kenwright is in something of a dilemma: if he doesn't come through with cash for his manager, Moyes may walk (if rumour was to be believed last August, Moyes threatened to resign then until money materialised for Yakubu and Fernandes) out of frustration. Having achieved back-to-back top-six finishes, the manager holds all the cards at the moment and if the Chairman were seen to be responsible for the loss of arguably the club's greatest asset, his position may become untenable in the face of the fans' reaction.

 

Providing the transfer kitty necessary, though, will likely be difficult given the level of borrowing against future Sky TV revenue that has already taken place and the impression that Earl has been calling the financial shots in recent months.

 

How real is this latest prospect of a buyout by foreign interests? If insider information is to be believed, the approach is genuine and it isn't the first but talks are still in the initial stages. Liverpool Echo reporter, Greg O'Keefe, on his Gwlad Tidings blog, was the first to mention rumours of fresh Russian interest in Everton at the beginning of the month. Then there is the story that Kenwright held a meeting with a representative of the interested party before the home game with Newcastle United and then told another Echo journalist — outed by a couple of sources on the Blue Kipper forum as John Thompson — that talks were ongoing with a Russian businessman and that said journalist immediately spilled the beans to nearby acquaintances.

 

Finally, in an interview on Brian Reade's City Talk radio show yesterday, Keep Everton In Our City spokesman, Dave Kelly, announced the same thing live on air — that the Board were in talks with a Russian billionnaire regarding a takeover of the club.

 

Speculation on message boards has assumed that the mystery man is Boris Berezovsky, the ex-Russian oligarch and member of Boris Yeltsin's inner circle now exiled in London due to his opposition to Vladimir Putin. A bit of piecing together of information on ToffeeWeb's part, however, leads us to believe that the man in question is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of oil giant Yukos and once Russia's richest man before he was jailed by the Putin regime on charges of fraud.

 

Serving time behind bars in Siberia he may be but that hasn't stopped his partners and lieutenants from investing in various projects in Europe on his behalf and there are indications that he could soon be released from prison while also receiving vast compensation from the government for improper liquidation of Yukos' assets by the Russian government two years ago. His personal fortune is believed to be £220m but he has joint interests in another company worth an estimated £3bn.

 

Taking all this conjecture a step further, would it explain the fact that Moyes has agreed to stay in principal but not yet signed a new contract at Goodison...?

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no thanks, would rather stay with the status quo than become the next chelsea!

 

ask any Chelsea fans if they would swap their silverwear over the last few years for 5th place.

 

i'm not saying any old investor/owner will do, chelsea & roman maybe a little knee jerk, but they have silverwear from the last few years. a russian is at pompy and they are coming on in leaps and bounds.

 

he could be a great owner (like randy) or a bad one (like hicks) or it could all be bollocks anyway

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ask any Chelsea fans if they would swap their silverwear over the last few years for 5th place.

 

i'm not saying any old investor/owner will do, chelsea & roman maybe a little knee jerk, but they have silverwear from the last few years. a russian is at pompy and they are coming on in leaps and bounds.

 

he could be a great owner (like randy) or a bad one (like hicks) or it could all be bollocks anyway

 

My housemate who is a Chelsea fan hates Roman due to all the stick they get for it and the prices being very expensive, he says he'd prefer to go back before the days of Roman. But I do realise that is only one persons view of it. :D

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