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Volume 7 No. 149

Finance

Liverpool "posted the largest annual profit ever recorded by a football club," after a "stellar" run to the Champions League final and "blockbuster player sales provided an unexpected boost to its financial performance," according to Bounds & Ahmed of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Revenue for the EPL club, "currently mounting a strong challenge to win its first league title in 29 years," was £455M in the year to May 31, 2018, a period that covers last season. Liverpool also made a pre-tax profit of £125M, up £85M from a year earlier. The figure beats the £92.5M profit achieved by Leicester City in '16-17, the season the Midlands club played in the Champions League following its "unlikely Premier League victory" in '16. Liverpool "has closed the gap on the sport’s financial elite," which includes Real Madrid, Barcelona, ManU and Bayern Munich. However, each of those clubs "still made" at least £100M more in revenues than Liverpool last season, according to figures collated by Deloitte (FT, 2/8).

ON SOLID GROUND: In London, Andy Hunter reported Liverpool made £72M from last season’s Champions League campaign. The latest accounts include the signings of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke. They do not account for "last summer’s club record spend" on Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri, signed for a combined total of £174M. Liverpool COO Andy Hughes said, "This growth and increase in revenue has enabled us to significantly reinvest both in the playing squad and the football operational infrastructure. Financial results do fluctuate depending on player trading costs and timing of payments, but what’s clear in these latest results is the further strengthening of our underlying financial footing and profits being reinvested in the squad and infrastructure" (GUARDIAN, 2/8). In London, Paul Joyce reported Liverpool’s debt is in two parts: the Main Stand loan, "a pass-through" from club owner Fenway Sports Group, which is now £100M ($129.5M) after £10M ($13M) in capital was paid off over the past year; and Liverpool’s "revolving credit facility, or external debt," which stands at £56M ($72.5M). The new training HQ will cost £50M ($64.8M) and the club is "continuing a feasibility study" into the expansion of the Anfield Road stand, for which it would "take on more debt." Hughes: "We’re making solid progress right across the club. Costs in football continue to rise year on year and it’s important we constantly review and manage our operating costs to ensure we’re in the right shape for future success" (LONDON TIMES, 2/8).

EVERYBODY WINS: In Boston, Michael Silverman reported what is good for Liverpool's bottom line "is good for" the FSG-owned MLB Boston Red Sox and LeBron James, who owns an estimated 2% stake in Liverpool. According to Forbes’ most recent valuation from last June, Liverpool is worth $1.94B. After FSG purchased Liverpool for $477M in '10, James and Fenway Sports Management "joined forces the following year in an ongoing marketing deal." ESPN has estimated that James’ 2% stake was worth $6.5M initially. Based on Forbes’ valuation, James’ stake has grown to approximately $38.8M (BOSTON HERALD, 2/8).