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Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of Disney, is engaged in “exclusive” talks to buy Portsmouth football club, the two parties have revealed.
On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that the 75-year-old American was in advanced negotiations to acquire the club, which plays in League Two, the lowest division of England’s professional league structure.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the club said:
“Portsmouth Community Football Club would like to advise all shareholders and supporters that it has entered into an Exclusivity Agreement with Michael D. Eisner and his [media investment company] Tornante Group to allow for a period of discussions and negotiations to take place regarding a possible purchase of the club.
The agreement is simply to ensure that during this period, which will be 70 days, the club will not engage in discussions with any other potential bidder and is standard practice in these situations.”
In response, Mr Eisner wrote on Twitter: “Exciting times! Looking forward to coming over and meeting you all. Good luck against Newport County on Saturday!!”
No details were given on the financial terms of the possible transaction. If a deal can be reached, Mr Eisner would become the latest international corporate magnate to seek an investment in English football.
Portsmouth would represent his first step into professional sports ownership, although he has previously had an eye on the sector.
In 2007, alongside private-equity group Madison Dearborn Partners, Mr Eisner bought Topps, a trading card company that has a licensing deal with several US professional leagues and the English Premier League, in a deal worth $385m.