LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 22, 2015: Liverpool's co-owner and NESV Chairman Tom Werner, Director Michael Gordon and owner John W. Henry before the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match against Rubin Kazan at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

FSG end talks over $8bn investment that could have seen Liverpool build network of clubs

Moneyball founder Billy Beane has seen his attempt to invest in FSG fall through, with the proposed deal potentially seeing Liverpool join a Red Bull-style network of clubs.

Beane was part of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in talks over the purchase in a minority stake in FSG itself, with an $8 billion investment worth up to 25 percent of the ownership group.

It had been proposed towards the end of last year that with this deal converting FSG into a public company, it would allow the acquisition of other clubs to partner with Liverpool.

This is most prominently seen with Red Bull, who own clubs in Germany, Austria, Brazil, the United States and Ghana – including the Reds’ next Champions League opponents RB Leipzig – with their model allowing pathways for player development.

For example, this month saw Dominik Szoboszlai swap Salzburg for Leipzig, while Hee-chan Hwang made the same switch last summer and the likes of Naby Keita, Dayot Upamecano and Peter Gulacsi have done so previously.

RedBall Acquisition, the conveniently named SPAC in talks with FSG, work alongside RedBird Capital Partners, who purchased a majority stake in Ligue 2 side Toulouse in July – which could have presented the first partner club for Liverpool.

However, US business outlet Axois now report that talks have ended between FSG and RedBall, as the latter “couldn’t raise enough outside capital at the asking price.”

It is added, though, that “an alternative investment, structured more like private equity, remains possible,” with this expected to run through investor Gerry Cardinale and RedBird Capital Partners.

But this would not be one that “would immediately result in a public stock listing,” rather a straightforward investment as FSG have been open to in recent years.

Billy Beane (Photo by D. Ross Cameron/Oakland Tribune/MCT/Sipa USA)

The suggestion is that Beane and RedBall will move on to another club, likely in Europe, or possibly even into eSports.

Whether this represents a blow to Liverpool remains to be seen, though it could be argued that outside investment would certainly benefit the club – particularly at a time when finances are threatened by a drop in revenue.

Tuesday saw Deloitte’s annual Football Money League report outline a loss of £43 million in 2019/20 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has limited the Reds’ capabilities in the transfer market.

More broadly, a network of clubs could have suited Liverpool in both player development and acquisition as, working within the new post-Brexit rules, signings could be targeted from further afield, such as in Asia, Africa and South America.

For now, though, FSG will remain in the same position, with the Premier League champions continuing their shrewd approach to recruitment and commercial growth.