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Former Walt Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner is in talks to finalize the acquisition of English soccer club Portsmouth FC after shareholders including a fan club (the biggest shareholder) gave a proposed deal their blessing.
The club said 81.4 percent of its equity holders agreed to a sale, adding: “The club will now proceed to negotiate the final terms of the sale with the Tornante Group over the coming weeks.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what final price tag the club could fetch, but the BBC previously reported that Eisner had offered 5.67 million pounds ($7.37 million).
Eisner, 75, has since 2005 been running the Tornante Company, which invests in and acquires media and entertainment companies and has financed such projects as animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman.
Portsmouth plays in England’s League Two, the lowest division of the country’s professional league setup. Tornante, together with Madison Dearborn Partners, owns trading card company Topps, which has licensing deals with U.S. sports leagues and the English Premier League. Eisner has said that he became a fan of English soccer after watching a game of London club Arsenal.
Eisner would become the latest international businessman to buy into an English soccer club. Most acquisitions have focused on clubs in the popular Premier League. For example, Los Angeles Rams and Denver Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke owns a majority stake in Arsenal, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry owns Liverpool FC, and the Glazer family owns Manchester United.
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