Former Disney Chief Michael Eisner Bids for English Soccer Club

Media tycoon pitched his takeover bid to Portsmouth fans and shareholders earlier this month

Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns.

Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner and his Tornante investment group. The ballot closes Friday.

Eisner’s bid has a 70-day period of exclusivity, which runs out June 1. In addition to the offer price, he has committed to investing an additional £10 million ($13 million) in the club.

Most of the top English clubs are under foreign ownership, including national champions Chelsea, which is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, and Manchester United, owned by the U.S.’s Glazer family. Television rights for the top tier of English soccer, the Premier League, are worth £10.4 billion ($13.5 billion) over three years, the highest in the world.

Portsmouth used to be in the Premier League, but its fortunes have rapidly declined. At one point, it fell into the fourth tier of the local leagues and also into bankruptcy. The club was saved through the setting up of an ownership group led by a fans’ organization, which now recommends accepting Eisner’s offer.

If it is approved, Portsmouth would become the latest English soccer team to rely on foreign investment. Chinese investors have also taken stakes in the Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, and Birmingham City and Wolves teams.

Eisner, a former president of Paramount Pictures as well as an early investor in Netflix, is reported to have previously expressed an interest in buying another English club, Reading.

More Biz

  • Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleThe wedding

    How Oprah, Ava DuVernay and Reese Witherspoon Celebrate the Royal Wedding

    Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns. Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner […]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleThe wedding

    Watch the Gospel Choir's Rendition of 'Stand By Me' at the Royal Wedding

    Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns. Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner […]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleThe wedding

    Prince Harry Marries U.S. Actress Meghan Markle

    Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns. Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner […]

  • Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleThe wedding

    Thousands Descend on Windsor for Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

    Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns. Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner […]

  • Andrea Tantaros sues Fox News

    Judge Dismisses Andrea Tantaros Wiretapping Suit Against Fox News

    Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns. Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner […]

  • India's Bollywood Biz Fuels Film Production

    Business From India Fuels Growth of Film Biz in Abu Dhabi

    Former Disney chief Michael Eisner is bidding to join the elite world of English soccer team owners, gunning for a prize that has become a new badge of prestige for billionaires, Chinese companies and other wealthy concerns. Fans and shareholders of England’s Portsmouth Football Club are voting on a £5.67 million ($7.38 million) takeover bid by Eisner […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content