Stake talk

Hibs in sights of US billionaire ‘fascinated by SPL’

Hibernian supporters celebrate the 2016 Scottish Cup win (pic: Terry Murden, DBMS)

Billionaire Bournemouth owner Bill Foley is interested in buying a minority stake in Hibs, saying he is ‘fascinated by the Scottish Premier League’.

The 78-year-old Texan, who made his fortune in the financial sector, has held a preliminary conversation about investing in the Easter Road club.

Hibs owners, spearheaded by Kit Gordon and her son Ian, who are running it after the death of Ron Gordon earlier this year, do not want to relinquish control.

However, they have been willing to consider Foley’s interest which follows potential changes to the Scottish Football Association regulations that currently prohibit an organisation or individual having a controlling stake in two clubs at the same time.

Mr Foley acquired English Premier League outfit Bournemouth in December last year and has a minority stake in French Ligue 1 club Lorient. He also owns the Las Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team and is the preferred bidder to set up a new A-League team in Auckland, New Zealand.

In a podcast six weeks ago, he said: “I’m fascinated by the Scottish Premier League. They play hard, Scots are tough. They play a tough brand of football. And I believe there are opportunities to make one of the No. 4, 5 or 6 SPL teams to get them to No 3 and they play in Europe.

“I believe we can pull that off with not a gigantic investment – and be a minority investor, be supportive of that club. And then work on sponsorship together because we have a whole sponsorship and I know we can help an SPL team. We’re working towards that goal right now with a particular team.

“Then we have our sights set on some other clubs. And I believe we could end up with four or five economic interests in clubs. We would then have a system in place for players to advance and move on to the next club, then the next club. We will have similar analytics staff in place, and technical directors, to look for the right type of players who can ultimately play for AFC Bournemouth.”

Hibs were acquired in 2019 by Mr Gordon, a US-Peruvian businessman who lost his battle with cancer and left the club in the hands of his wife and son.

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