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Moneyball pioneer Billy Beane ‘eyeing large minority investment’ in Liverpool

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Liverpool could be a target of a new source of investment, with Moneyball founder Billy Beane leading a special purpose acquisition group in a reported search for a Premier League club.

Liverpool’s owners FSG have not been shy in their openness to the idea of selling a minority stake in the club in return for the right investment.

They are open to offers from groups or individuals in acquiring a minority stake, having rebuffed proposals to buy the club outright.

And earlier this month, Beane – whose statistical approach to recruitment formed the basis of ‘Moneyball’ with the Oakland Athletics baseball team – and sports banker Gerry Cardinale disclosed they had raised $575 million (£438m).

The funds were raised through a company called RedBall Acquisition Corp through a SPAC and from various investors, with the New York Post claiming they are “shopping for a UK soccer team.”

But the acquisition target of a SPAC must be determined within two years otherwise the funds will be returned to investors, meaning the clock is already ticking – but they have already identified their main focus is “on professional sports franchises.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, September 9, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp and owner John W. Henry during the Liverpool FC Main Stand opening event at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The report goes on to claim England is at the centre of that focus as the Premier League‘s former executive chairman, Richard Scudamore is on the company’s board as a director.

And Liverpool, with their ties to Beane – who is friends with owner John W Henry and a fan of the club – have emerged as the headline target for a large minority investment.

With an existing relationship and deep respect for Beane from Liverpool’s owners, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that they would sanction a deal – but Tottenham were also namechecked in the report.

It is also interesting to note that Beane already holds a minority stake in Championship side Barnsley.

Using a SPAC, however, would see part of Liverpool’s ownership equity traded on the New York Stock Exchange, like Manchester United currently.

With money in their pocket and a deadline to complete any deal, RedBall are unlikely to want to waste time in their search, with the Reds undoubtedly a lucrative team to tap into.

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