The Wall Street-based owners of Premier League club Crystal Palace have held talks with a US-based financial group to sell the English football club, two people informed about the matter said.
Josh Harris, a billionaire who helped found Apollo, and David Blitzer, a senior executive at Blackstone, who acquired the south London club three years ago have hired PJT Partners, a US boutique investment bank, to advise them on the sale of the team, said one person.
This comes at a time when foreign investment opportunities and appetite to buy teams in the most lucrative football league in the world is at an all-time high. Clubs in England’s top division spent a combined $1.44bn on transfer fees last summer as titans raced to snap the best talent across the globe.
Mr Harris and Mr Blitzer, who also own the National Basketball League’s Philadelphia 76ers and the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, could not be immediately reached for comment. PJT declined to comment. Bloomberg first reported about the sale of the football club.
Crystal Palace was promoted into the Premier League in 2013 where the team has remained for the past six seasons.
Over the 2016/17 season, the latest period for which financial results are available, the club achieved record annual revenues of £142.7m, mainly due its share of the Premier League’s broadcasting contracts.
The turnround in the club’s finances following an extended stay in English football’s top tier comes after Crystal Palace was on the brink of collapse in 2010. The south London club was rescued out of administration by four local businessmen and was later promoted.
In late 2015, after months of talks, Mr Harris and Mr Blitzer acquired large stakes in the club. The two private equity executives, along with chairman Steve Parish, together own a controlling share.
Since their arrival, Crystal Palace has endured a tumultuous time, with repeated managerial changes and annual flirtations with relegation.
Last year the club unveiled ambitious plans for a £100m refurbishment of its dilapidated Selhurst Park stadium. Work was due to begin this summer, but progress has stalled.
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