QSI, PSG’s owners, and the reality about Liverpool’s ‘takeover’ after Mohamed Salah’s’meeting’

PSG's owners
PSG's owners

Despite the QSI boss’s alleged meeting with Mohamed Salah in a London restaurant, Qatar Sports Investments will be unable to arrange a full takeover game for Liverpool

Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, the Middle Eastern country’s sovereign wealth fund, intends to diversify its portfolio in 2023.

They were connected to both Liverpool and Manchester United following their appearance earlier this month in London, as reported for the first time by CBS Sports – that QSI Chairman and PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al Khelaifi met Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy.

According to football.london, the meeting was to discuss the new joint venture between UEFA and the European Club Association, of which Al Khelaifi is chairman, which will cover media rights sales processes for UEFA club competitions after 2024 and aims to increase revenue streams for Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League teams.

The meeting’s agenda would have included potential investments through the purchase of a minority interest. On Monday, Egyptian journalist Ismael Mahmoud published a photo of a group of five men gathering in a restaurant, with two of the guys identified as Al Khelaifi and Liverpool forward Salah.

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah

Mahmoud went on to say that Salah was someone who wanted QSI to be the focal point of a Liverpool project, claiming that PSG’s owners will sell their controlling ownership in the French club in 2024 to focus on Liverpool.

According to a Bloomberg article published last week, both Liverpool and United are in QSI’s sights for investments, with the report also mentioning the possibility of a full acquisition.

However, The Times and CBS Sports both stated that no conversations had taken place with either club, which ECHO sources in the United States confirmed. While QSI could take a minority ownership that hasn’t had a decisive influence in a team like Liverpool, QSI’s takeover of a major Premier League club would be impossible unless they shed their share of the majority in PSG, as has been reported.

QSI is planning an aggressive year ahead, and investing in the Premier League is part of that plan. But, given the obvious conflict of interest that would follow from having influence over two prominent European sides that would encounter on a regular basis in the Champions League, whatever interest they had could not be a controlling interest, nor could they have substantial board-level participation…

salah mohamed
salah mohamed

QSI has invested heavily in its PSG project and wants to sell around 15% of its ownership at a club valuation of €4 billion to give new funding to invest in their own stadium’s huge stadium development project. The capital of France. PSG has been a tenant of the Parc des Princes, a stadium owned by the city of Paris, since 1973.

The possible conflict of interest is not novel, but it would preclude QSI, which holds a majority share in Portuguese Braga, from acquiring a controlling position in a major Premier League club.

Two clubs with “common control” cannot compete against each other, according to UEFA rules. In 2018, Red Bull-owned RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg clashed in the Champions League, which required significant alterations behind the scenes to satisfy UEFA that there was a clean separation between the two teams and that “no natural or legal person had a more decisive impact.”

Liverpool is owned in part by the controlling shareholders of a European powerhouse, AC Milan, and RedBird Capital Partners owns an 11% investment in Fenway Sports Group.

There has never been any worry about a potential conflict of interest because of the indirect nature of RedBird’s relationship with the Reds and the fact that RedBird does not hold a place on the football club’s board. UEFA’s point of view.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

FSG is still looking for new partners and is willing to considering the idea of a full sale if proposals surpass $4 billion (£3.3 billion). FSG CEO John W. Heinrich is primarily interested in the former — a minority partner who might give strategic finance and experience to expand revenue and potentially scale up its investments over time to eventually assume a majority stake.

According to well-placed ECHO sources in North America, while there was some interest, no offers and “nothing serious” had arisen from the hunt for proposals, which led to high-level conversations with FSG executives. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs lead the research, which is overseen by FSG chairman Mike Gordon, who recently delegated day-to-day responsibilities in Liverpool to CEO Billy Hogan in order to focus on investment research.

Qatari interest has intensified in recent weeks, with Ooredoo, a past name linked to a Liverpool takeover, touted as a potential bidder for a majority stake. This would not be without complications, considering that the QIA owns both QSI and Ooredoo, raising worries for UEFA about potentially decisive control over two major clubs.

However, with the city’s recent recognition as a free port, fostering international trade through exemptions from customary tax and customs laws to stimulate imports, exports, and other commercial activity, Liverpool is an appealing offer for the Middle East. It would create potential for several MENA countries to diversify revenue streams, with countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE recently aggressively exploring improvements in their port strategy.

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