New major shareholder Farhad Moshiri hoping to bring success to Everton
Billionaire Farhad Moshiri sold his stake in Arsenal before being confirmed as a major shareholder at Barclays Premier League rivals Everton.
Everton have announced Moshiri, 60, whose personal wealth is estimated at £1.3billion according to American business magazine Forbes, will acquire 49.9 per cent of the Merseyside club, subject to Premier League approval.
"After an exhaustive search I believe we have found the perfect partner to take the club forward," said Everton chairman Bill Kenwright.
"I have got to know Farhad well over the last 18 months and his football knowledge, financial wherewithal and true blue spirit have convinced me that he is the right man to support Everton."
Moshiri added: "I am delighted to take this opportunity to become a shareholder in Everton, with its rich heritage as one of Europe's leading football clubs.
"There has never been a more level playing field in the Premier League than now. Bill Kenwright has taught me what it means to be an Evertonian and I look forward with excitement to working with him to help deliver success for Everton in the future."
Moshiri, a British citizen whose parents fled to the UK from Iran in 1979, sold his interest in Arsenal to the London club's second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov.
Usmanov and Moshiri had jointly owned Red & White Holdings Ltd, which holds a stake of just over 30 per cent in Arsenal, and it is has been reported that the sale of the latter's shares to his partner will have raised almost £200million.
A statement released by Red and White on Friday said: "Red & White Holdings Limited ("Red & White") today announces that Mr Alisher Usmanov has purchased Mr Farhad Moshiri's stake in Red & White and as a result Mr Usmanov now owns 100 per cent of Red & White, which represents 18,695 shares or 30.04% in Arsenal Holdings plc ("Arsenal")."
Earlier this month, Everton appeared to be moving towards a takeover after talks with American investors John Jay Moores and Charles Noell were understood to have made progress.
Moores, the former owner of Major League Baseball franchise the San Diego Padres, and his associate had been in negotiations since December and undertook a six-week due diligence period looking at the club's books and speaking to major shareholders Kenwright, Robert Earl and Jon Woods.
Everton had not commented on any of the takeover speculation but at the club's AGM in November chief executive Robert Elstone said: ''There has never been more people interested in investing in Everton and the chairman is confident [investment] will be secured in the near future.''
At the same meeting Elstone said the club's plans to move to a new £300million home in nearby Walton Hall Park were more dependent on securing partnership funding from the city council than they were on fresh outside income.
''We are not working on the new stadium on the premise that we are about to secure new investment or need new investment,'' he said at the time.
Moshiri, a chartered certified accountant, has worked for Ernst & Young, Pannell Kerr Forster and Deloitte Touche and has a stake in Russian mining and steel manufacturers Metalloninvest and Russian mobile phone company Megafon.