Ice hockey’s Bill Foley heads US group pushing to buy Bournemouth


Bournemouth’s owner, Maxim Demin, is in talks with a consortium led by Bill Foley, the owner of ice hockey’s Vegas Golden Knights, over a potential sale for about £150m. If successful, it would mean that more than half the Premier League’s clubs have minority or majority US shareholders.

A group led by Foley, who is also chairman of the insurance company Fidelity National Financial and the investment company Cannae Holdings, is understood to have begun exclusive negotiations with Demin last week over a potential deal for the club, who were promoted from the Championship in May. Demin, who is Russia-born but a British citizen, has been the sole shareholder at Bournemouth since 2019, when he repurchased a 25% stake he had sold to the company Peak6 Investments.

He is believed to be open to selling after appointing the US-based firm Montminy & Co to identify potential buyers or investors. The 77-year-old Foley is based in Las Vegas and owns 70% of the city’s first major league franchise after helping to bring the Golden Knights into existence in 2017. He is undesrstood to be confident of completing a deal.

In June Foley signed a non-binding letter of intent to invest in John Textor’s Eagle Football Holdings LLC via Cannae, pledging to provide a credit facility of up to a maximum principal amount of €523m in connection with the attempted takeover of the French club Lyon. Textor, also an American, is already a co-owner of Crystal Palace and the majority shareholder of the Brazilian side Botafogo.

“We have spent a significant amount of time analysing professional soccer in Europe and are excited to announce that we intend to invest with John Textor in Eagle Football,” he said in a statement in June. “John has a unique vision of a multi-club football model and has already assembled some unique assets to contribute to Eagle Football with the opportunity to buy other attractive teams. John also has a differentiated view of how to monetise these assets to generate strong returns and we are excited for the opportunity to work with him.”

It is understood that while Foley retains an option to be part of the Lyon deal, Textor has now secured alternative investment.

The business magnates Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali became the latest US Premier League owners when their consortium paid a sports-franchise world-record £4.25bn to buy Chelsea. Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Aston Villa, West Ham, Fulham, Leeds and Liverpool all also have US investment on some scale.

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Marta Lopez

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