Feb 12, 2021

MSD Partners: a new force in English football finance

Over the past year, MSD Partners has lent almost £80m to Premier League team Southampton, provided funding for the £200m takeover of rival Burnley and made a loan to Derby County, a historic English club. MSD's first foray into English football predated the pandemic, but the crisis has helped forge an opportunity for the investment firm as the sport confronts an unprecedented financial crisis and other lenders retreat. The Premier League, the world's richest football competition, estimates that every month without fans in stadiums collectively costs English teams £100m. "Clubs need cash and MSD has cash," said Kieran Maguire, a football finance academic at the University of Liverpool and author of The Price of Football. The English Football League, which runs the professional divisions below the Premier League and was last year seeking funds to help stricken clubs, explored financing from MSD, among others, but ultimately borrowed £75m through the BoE's facility. MSD's most recent wager on English football was sealed on New Year's Eve, when it helped fund US investment firm ALK Capital's purchase of Burnley, a fixture of the Premier League for the past five seasons.

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