NBA icon LeBron James made an exceptional profit from his minority state in Liverpool FC amid news the Fenway Sports Group are exploring the potential sale of the club.
James already owns stakes in sports franchises around the world, serving as a minority owner of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool through his partnership with FSG. The Los Angeles Lakers forward bought 2% of Liverpool with his business partner Maverick Carter for $6.5million (£4.7m) in April 2011 – and it proved to be a particularly lucrative venture.
In March 2022, James, Carter and Paul Wachter exchanged their stakes in Liverpool for part-ownership of FSG. The actual amount is undisclosed, but James is estimated to own around 1% of the group which owns the Red Sox, Fenway Park stadium, Liverpool and NHL franchise Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as half of Roush Fenway Racing and 80% of the New England Sports Network.
According to Forbes, Liverpool is valued at $4.1billion (£3.56bn) and generates annual revenue of around $619m (£539m) based on figures for the 2019/20 season. This means James’ stake in the six-time European champions is now worth around $44m (£38.3m).
After exchanging both his and James’ stake in the club for ownership in FSG, Carter said: “Working with Fenway Sports Group for the past decade has taught LeBron and me so much about the business on a global scale, and we’ve always believed it would lead to something bigger.
“We are proud to be part of this iconic ownership group and are excited about the opportunities that come with that to continue creating change and empowering people of every race, gender and background to be part of the process.”
Since James became a shareholder in Liverpool, the Reds have enjoyed tremendous success on the pitch. Jurgen Klopp’s side won the Champions League in 2019 before winning their maiden Premier League title the following season.
Their immense success has had a massive positive influence on their revenue, operating income and market value. Liverpool drew European champions Real Madrid in the Round of 16 in the Champions League.
James, the three-time NBA MVP, recently expanded his sporting portfolio as he followed the likes of NFL icon Tom Brady in purchasing a Major League Pickleball team as part of a consortium that includes former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.