The oldest club in Italian football and which is still active, Genoa C.F.C., have been sold to USA-based investment firm 777 Partners who have taken over as the new owners of the club. Longtime owner Enrico Preziosi had been in the market for a few months looking for an owner, with the firm leading the way.
🇺🇸 7️⃣7️⃣7️⃣ 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/vRnieEGKYt
The confirmation of the purchase increases the presence of American ownership in Serie A to six. Roma, Spezia, Venezia, AC Milan, and Fiorentina are the other five with Bologna being owned by Canadian Joey Saputo.
CHANGE IN THE OFFING
777 have taken over 99.9% stake in the club, and aim to pump fresh capital as well as taking on some liabilities that are present. Though there has been no official figure given out yet, most analysts have put the total deal at €150m. That evaluation came, in part, after observing the recent trends of purchases by Americans with the most recent being Fiorentina by Rocco Commisso.
Josh Wander, founder and Managing Partner of 777 reaffirmed their commitment to “”respect the responsibility we are inheriting; we want to preserve and protect the proud legacy of the Rossoblu by aiming for the best possible placing in Serie A.”
🇺🇸❤️💙 Il primo messaggio di #777Partners ai tifosi del Grifone.
✍️ Fate sentire tutto il calore del tifo Rossoblù! pic.twitter.com/tGRpZC1G6w
Indeed, the club has a rich history in Italy, having won nine league titles and one Coppa Italia having being founded in 1893, while their home ground Stadio Luigi Ferraris has been in use since 1911. However, under Preziosi, their stay has moved in between the top-flight and Serie B over recent years. The Italian businessman has been the owner since 2003 and have been in Serie A since 2007, achieving regular mid-table finishes.
NEW FUTURE, NEW ASPIRATIONS
The new owners are not complete strangers to football, as they also hold 6% shares in Sevilla. Furthermore, they are also shareholders in UK basketball team London Lions but the purchase of Genoa will become their most prized asset no doubt.
Intriguing …. 777, the owners of London Lions (and still a possible investor in the BBL itself) adding to its sports portfolio. https://t.co/wEYrUavMR3
— Mark Woods (@markbritball) September 23, 2021
Preziosi will remain on the club’s board of directors while CEO Alessandro Zambrano will continue running day-to-day operations. The outgoing president’s words also seemed to confirm that this sale is for the best of everyone involved. “I always said that I would only leave Genoa to a strong and reliable new owner and I leave it in the hands of 777 Partners,” Preziosi said as he relinquished control.
Presently, they sit in 16th-place, just one point above the relegation zone. It has not been a great start to the season with a solitary win so far and they were hammered 4-0 by champions Inter on opening day. Manager Davide Ballardini is in his fourth spell with Genoa, and though their summer activity was minimal, they did make a good profit on the sale of Eldor Shomurodov to Roma.
With the club not having the best start to the season, the supporters can definitely hope that they will be making some sizable strides in January in terms of bringing in fresh faces.
RISE IN FOREIGN OWNERS
As mentioned above, more than half a dozen teams have North American owners with Inter Milan having Chinese management who have taken a massive financial hit despite winning the Scudetto last season. Even Serie B has Parma, SPAL, and Como form the trio of clubs with American stakeholders. However, this is not an isolated phenomenon as the increase in Asian and American individuals/companies buy football clubs across the world.
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) September 21, 2021
English football has a whole bevvy of Chinese magnates who have bought clubs but China has been asking their businessmen to scale back investments in foreign clubs. Nevertheless, the onset of the pandemic and its lingering effects have made such kind of sales necessary. It is unlikely Preziosi would have sold Genoa if it were not for his inability to run the club.
Though there has been no outwardly show of distress, the fact that 777 Partners had to mention liabilities in their first briefing made it clear that there was some duress.