Liverpool have been put up for sale, as The Athletic exclusively revealed on Monday.
But who owns the club? How much did they pay for it? And how much are Liverpool worth now?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the sale situation.
Who are FSG?
Founded in 2001, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), initially known as New England Sports Ventures (NESV), is a sports investment firm based in Boston, USA.
American businessman John W Henry and his friend and fellow businessman Tom Werner established the company.
The following year, Henry and Werner joined forces with investors including The New York Times and Les Otten to purchase Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. Since then, the company has continued to build its portfolio, most recently acquiring the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League.
How much did FSG pay for Liverpool?
It purchased Liverpool Football Club in October 2010 for £300million ($343m today), with the club on the brink of administration following the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
The firm’s name was changed from NESV to FSG the following March.
How much are Liverpool worth now?
No figure has been put on the club by Liverpool themselves, but industry experts have had their say.
Conrad Wiacek, head of sport analysis at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, said: “Given the sale of Chelsea in the summer of 2022 reached $4.15billion (£2.5bn at the time of the sale), the sale of Liverpool could Reach in excess of $5bn (£4.36bn), with the club generating over $160million (£140m) from its sponsorship deals for the 2022-23 season alone.”
What is the state of play?
A full sales presentation has been produced for interested parties.
FSG has looked at opportunities in the past but decided against moving forward with any of them. It is unclear whether or not a deal will eventually be done this time, but FSG is inviting offers.
Financial giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been retained to assist with the process.
How has FSG’s ownership of the club gone?
The ownership has coincided with the club’s most successful era since the 1980s, with manager Jurgen Klopp leading them to Premier League and Champions League glory. They have also won the Club World Cup, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Community Shield in this time, reaching 11 finals in various competitions.
FSG has also transformed Anfield with the development of the £110million new Main Stand while work continues to expand the Anfield Road Stand. That £80m project will be completed next summer, raising the capacity of the ground to 61,000. It has also funded the club’s move from Melwood, their training base for over 70 years, to a new £50million facility in the Kirkby district of the city.
However, FSG fell out with supporters over the European Super League project in April last year.
FSG was one of the driving forces behind the divisive idea and Liverpool fans felt they had been betrayed and kept in the dark. This was the lowest point of FSG’s ownership.
Who is in the FSG ownership group?
Henry is the principal owner of the FSG and assumes the same role with Liverpool. Werner is the US company’s chairman and also has the same title at Liverpool. He is the second-highest stakeholder behind Henry.
Mike Gordon is the firm’s president and was the third-highest stakeholder until the investment by RedBird Capital Partners in 2021. Gordon has had a very active role at Liverpool, managing the day-to-day operations of the club and has a strong relationship with Klopp.
FSG has 30 partners overall, including Henry’s wife Linda, Liverpool director Michael Egan, vice-chairmen David Ginsberg and Phillip Morse, as well as Sam Kennedy and Larry Lucchino — respectively the Boston Red Sox’s current and former chief executive officers.
What about RedBird Capital Partners?
RedBird Capital Partners is a private investment firm. It bought 11 per cent of FSG for £655million ($750m) last year. Key to this is that it invested in the parent company, not Liverpool FC specifically.
When the investment was announced in March 2021, the aim was to reduce the financial burden on FSG, with the coming funds in from RedBird providing more money for new signings.
The move also saw global basketball superstar, and Liverpool fan, LeBron James and his business partners Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter become part of the FSG ownership group.
Who is on Liverpool’s board?
There are seven members of Liverpool’s board of directors.
It includes three investors holding more than 10 per cent interest in Henry, Werner and Gordon. Chief executive officer Billy Hogan, who initially arrived at the club in 2012 as chief commercial officer having already working for FSG, stepped into his current role in 2020 after the departure of Peter Moore as the board’s fourth member.
Managing director Andy Hughes, who joined the club as chief financial officer in 2013, is also involved and so is Egan.
The seventh and final director is Sir Kenny Dalglish, who is one of the greatest players in the history of the club and has also managed them in two separate spells from 1985-91 and 2011-12.
What has FSG said?
A statement from FSG to The Athletic reads: “There have been a number of recent changes of ownership and rumors of changes in ownership at EPL clubs and inevitably we are asked regularly about Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in Liverpool.
“FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool. FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club.
“FSG remains fully committed to the success of Liverpool, both on and off the pitch.”
FSG and Liverpool timeline
- October 15, 2010 – FSG takes over Liverpool, purchasing the club from the previous ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jnr.
- January 8, 2011 – FSG sacks Roy Hodgson and appoints his first manager in club legend Kenny Dalglish.
- February 26, 2012 – Liverpool win the League Cup final, beating Championship side Cardiff City in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw at Wembley.
- May 16, 2012 – Dalglish is sacked after finishing eighth with 52 points.
- June 1, 2012 – FSG appoints its second manager, Brendan Rodgers.
- May 11, 2014 – Liverpool finish as Premier League runners-up, having been five points clear with three games to go.
- December 4, 2014 – Club share plans to redevelop Anfield’s Main Stand, increasing capacity to around 54,000.
- February 5, 2015 – Club announce that New Balance will become their new kit supplier.
- October 4, 2015 – Rodgers is sacked, with Liverpool 10th in the table after eight games.
- October 8, 2015 – FSG appoints its third manager in Jurgen Klopp, who was on a sabbatical after leaving German club Borussia Dortmund at the end of the previous season.
- February 6, 2016 – FSG is forced to back down over a ticket-price rise and issues a public apology after fans walk out of a home game against Sunderland in protest.
- February 28, 2016 – Liverpool lose the League Cup final in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.
- May 18, 2016 – Liverpool lose the Europa League final 3-1 to Spain’s Sevilla.
- September 9, 2016 – Liverpool open new main stand, boosting Anfield’s capacity to 54,000
- June 22, 2017 – Mohamed Salah is signed from Italy’s Roma for £36million.
- January 1, 2018 — Virgil van Dijk is signed from Southampton for £75million, a world-record fee for a defender.
- May 26, 2018 – Liverpool lose the Champions League final 3-1 to Real Madrid.
- June 1, 2019 – Liverpool win the Champions League final, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0.
- September 26, 2019 – FSG’s bid to trademark the word ‘Liverpool’ is rejected by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office.
- December 21, 2019 – Liverpool win the Club World Cup final, beating Flamengo of Brazil 1-0 after extra time.
- January 7, 2020 – Liverpool announce multi-year Nike kit deal from 2020-21 season.
- June 25, 2020 – Liverpool win the Premier League, their first domestic title since 1989-90.
- November 10, 2020 – The club move to a new training facility in the Kirkby area of the city, after over 70 years at previous base Melwood.
- April 1, 2021 – Fellow US firm RedBird Capital Partners buys a stake in FSG for £533million.
- April 18, 2021 – Liverpool confirm they are one of the 12 founding clubs for a new European Super League (ESL).
- April 20, 2021 – Liverpool withdraw from the ESL project following fan protests.
- April 21, 2021 – Principal owner John W Henry formally apologises for the club’s ESL involvement.
- February 27, 2022 – Liverpool win the League Cup final, beating Chelsea on penalties after a goalless draw.
- May 14, 2022 – Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties again at Wembley after another 0-0 draw, this time in the FA Cup final.
- May 28, 2022 – Liverpool lose the Champions League final 1-0 to Real Madrid.
- October 19, 2022 – Klopp comments on Manchester City’s spending power, stating that “they can do what they want financially” while talking about the clout of City, Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain in the transfer market.
- October 31, 2022 – Liverpool announce the start of the next stage at the Anfield Road Stand expansion project, which will raise capacity to 61,000.
- November 7, 2022 – The Athletic reveals Liverpool are up for sale.
(Photo: Michael Regan — UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)