Everton promise new investment as billionaire becomes major shareholder at club
Everton have announced that billionaire Farhad Moshiri is "a new major shareholder" at the club and "brings the promise of new investment".
Moshiri will acquire 49.9 per cent of the Merseyside club, conditional on the Premier League approving his investment.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said: "After an exhaustive search I believe we have found the perfect partner to take the club forward.
"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."
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, 60, is a former Arsenal shareholder who sold his stake in the club to his business partner Alisher Usmanov.
A statement released by Red and White Holdings on Friday read: "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 per cent in Arsenal Holdings plc ("Arsenal")."
According to American business magazine Forbes, Moshiri's personal wealth is estimated at around £1.3billion.
In an interview with Bloomberg in 2012, Moshiri - who is now a British citizen - said: "My parents fled Iran in February 1979, just before the Iranian Revolution.
"My father was an army doctor who trained as a pathologist and later became a senior military judge. My mother came from Iran's leading publishing house, Kayhan, which is now based in London."
Regarding his investment in Arsenal, he said he was attracted by their "position as a top London club" that had just moved into a "purpose-built" stadium.