Before RedBird Capital Partners struck its $ 750 million deal to take an 11% stake in Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group in March, another deal was struck in the background.

The summer of 2020 saw the emergence of a number of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), one of the first being RedBall Acquisition Corp, a sports-specific SPAC led by RedBird Founder and Managing Partner Gerry Cardinale. and the baseball analytics guru. Billy Beane, a man whose approach to statistical analysis provided the screenplay for the Hollywood film “Moneyball,” with Brad Pitt playing the role of Beane.

The initial idea that was presented, although never officially publicly recognized by either party, was that RedBall wanted to take between 20 and 25 percent of FSG’s capital and list the company on the New York Stock Exchange.

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RedBall raised $ 575 million in its initial public offering (IPO) last summer and has sought to raise an additional $ 950 million through Redbird and other outside private investment in its second run to try to raise nearly $ 1 billion. The valuation of the total business of FSG, which also includes the Boston Red Sox baseball team, among other entities, had been estimated at around $ 7 billion.

They failed to do so with institutional investors unable to reach consensus on the valuation placed on FSG and it was decided that the best course of action was to go their separate ways at this point. Relations between the two sides have remained strong, with Cardinale still keeping his hands on talks about a possible private investment in FSG through Redbird, a $ 750 million deal for 11% of FSG reached in March of this year.

RedBall, due to the nature of a SPAC, had 24 months after the initial IPO to find a home for its investors’ money. If that clock runs out, the money is returned.

Last week, RedBall signed a deal with online ticketing platform SeatGeek to take on the company’s audience, but the decision had already been made not to turn to the sport after Cardinale cooled down to the idea after the wave of PSPC flooded the market,

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Beane was expected to play a leading role in building a multi-club portfolio if the RedBall deal had gone through, giving him strong ties to Liverpool and sharing a perspective on data analysis with the primary owner of the Reds, John W Henry.

And Cardinale explained why the SPAC deal with FSG failed and why, instead, the decision was made to use RedBird as the vehicle through which to invest in Liverpool and the other associated FSG companies.

Speaking at the Financial Times US Business of Sport summit in New York on Thursday, Cardinale said, “We approached it through SPAC because the other angle I wanted to address as a guy who plays sports is for 20 years, it’s been that I thought it was time for this kind of permanent capital, this institutional capital to enter the sport and that we could be a catalyst for that.

“The reality is that the PSPC phenomenon has really started to gain the upper hand, and the PSPC phenomenon is not good for sport at the moment. The PSPC phenomenon is that there is a certain type of capital that is there and they’re there for a quick knock and go. That’s what it is.

“Since we started today, a lot has happened and a flood of capital has come in and a lot of companies have been bought out, and I don’t agree with a lot of them. The PSPC for us was a toolkit and it was very easy for us, we had a vision on valuation and we love the Fenway Sports Group ownership and management team, unprecedented in the world, and as we started to to learn more about PSPC, we transferred it directly to our fund and made a $ 750 million investment out of RedBird. “

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Cardinale has an interest in European football through his ownership of French second division team Toulouse and a small stake in Spanish club Malaga.

His stake in FSG gives him a piece of Liverpool and with some envisioning what will come after Henry and FSG he is seen as one of the people who could take over, a topic he has been pressed on at the FT. Mountain peak.

Cardinale said: “We did not guarantee that with that as a target.

“No (I’m not ruling it out) I certainly wouldn’t rule it out as it would be a privilege but I think Liverpool are in good hands with the current squad.

“We’re here to support and play a supporting role where we can, but it’s a phenomenal team from ownership to management to the end.”