Posted on: September 18, 2022, 07:11 am.
Last updated: September 18, 2022, 7:11 AM.
As English Premier League football team AFC Bournemouth struggles to gain a foothold, it could soon have a new owner. The man who helped bring ice hockey to Vegas, Bill Foley, is reportedly interested in buying the team.
Kieffer Moore of EPL football team AFC Bournemouth on the pitch during a game against the Wolverhampton Wanderers in August. Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, negotiates the purchase of Moore’s team. (Image: Getty Images)
The Premier League is one of the richest leagues in the world and has moved millions of pounds in recent times. It is a major market opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for new investments, with several big deals such as the Chelsea sale popping up lately.
Now almost half of the teams in the UK’s top football run have US-based owners, either through individuals or companies. Foley, the largest owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, is looking for the next one. He discusses the possibility with the team’s current owner, Russian Maxim Demin.
Kicking things up in the UK
Bournemouth play in the United Kingdom’s first division and are currently in 12th place. As revealed by Sky Sports and other media outlets, Foley has expressed interest in acquiring 100% of the shares of the team.
A possible purchase amount of more than €170 million (US$170.25 million) emerged. This is comparable to the amount Demin invested in 2011 to stay with the club. However, that was well before his country decided to invade Ukraine.
Demin’s desire to sell Bournemouth is not new. Media reports say he has listened to offers to sell the club for the past year. However, none of them were of the caliber of Foley’s, who have already tried to buy a club.
Bournemouth fired manager Scott Parker last month after just four dates in the Premier League. The last two games have been loss-making as the club continues to search for a new manager.
The search is delayed by negotiations with Foley. If all goes well, the sale of the English club could take place before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
A few years ago, Foley expressed interest in acquiring the shares of French Ligue 1 team Olympique Lyon. In addition, he was involved in early talks with the MLS last year about bringing a soccer team to Vegas.
However, the deal fell apart and the league is now discussing a new exclusive deal with Aston Villa owners, Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris. If they reach an agreement, the new team could become the Las Vegas Villains.
More value for Bournemouth
Bournemouth, which recently signed gaming operator Dafabet as the shirt’s title sponsor, could benefit from Foley’s involvement. He has helped the Golden Knights improve in value every year and may well do the same for Bournemouth.
According to Statista, the NHL team was worth $500 million in 2017. The following year, it added $25 million and another $5 million in 2019. While the value fell slightly in 2020 (to $570 million), it rose to $710 million last year.
The performance could also be the result of the involvement of the Maloof family, the founders and former owners of the Palm Casino Resort. The family owns 30% of the Golden Knights.
Negotiations between Foley and Demin are reportedly at an advanced stage. Should the sale be given the go-ahead from the Premier League and regulators, Foley could potentially hand over the keys to this year’s World Cup.
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