Everton owner Moshiri has the biggest stake in the Royal Liver Building
Everton Football Club owner Farhad Moshiri has the largest stake in Liverpool’s Royal Liver Building, which went up for sale days after a longtime Russian associate of the Anglo businessman -Iranian has been hit with sanctions, according to a document seen by the Financial Times.
Moshiri, who is under increasing scrutiny for his ties to billionaire oligarch Alisher Usmanov, owns 49.9% of one of Britain’s most famous office buildings, which is only on the market for the second time in over 100 years of history.
Property services firm CBRE began marketing the property to potential buyers earlier this month for over £90million, acting for a group of investors who acquired it for £48million in 2017.
While real estate investment group Corestate Capital led the acquisition, the Luxembourg company’s accounts show it only has a 35% stake in the Royal Liver Building. Another document seen by the FT breaking down the building’s ownership structure details the size of Moshiri’s stake.
A group of anonymous “international” investors are the other owners.
Shortly after the 2017 acquisition, Moshiri told the Liverpool Echo he had been part of the consortium who had bought the property, but it was not previously reported that the British-Iranian businessman has the largest stake in the Grade 1 listed building.
When CBRE announced the sale on March 15, he said he was marketing the building “on behalf of the current owners, Corestate Capital.”
Corestate told the FT it was unable to comment on the ownership structure of the building, but said it had made the decision to sell the building in October 2021.
“The fact that the sale of the building is taking place now is due to favorable market conditions,” Corestate added. “These have not been present for the past few years, mainly due to Covid and Brexit. The building has undergone an extensive refurbishment program over the past five years and is now let to several large Liverpool businesses.
A spokesperson for Moshiri said “Corestate felt the time was right to sell and made this recommendation to all investors.” He added that the businessman had not ruled out buying the other 50.1% stake in the Liver Building.
CBRE declined to comment.
The lack of public disclosure of the size of Moshiri’s stake in the building highlights the opacity of the UK property market, which the government is seeking to address with a new register of beneficial owners. UK Land Registry filings only show that the Royal Liver Building is owned by a Guernsey company which was incorporated by Corestate Capital.
Moshiri is a longtime business partner of Usmanov, whom the British government taxed punishments the 3 of March. This has shaken Everton’s finances as the Liverpool club have had to suspend sponsorship deals with companies linked to the oligarch.
Everton are one of the tenants of the Royal Liver Building, with sales documents sent to potential buyers showing the club accounts for 14% of the building’s rental income. Moshiri, who is a shareholder in Usmanov’s USM Holdings and was previously its chairman, owns more than 94% of Premier League shares.
The BBC reported this week that Moshiri has ties to several offshore trusts that own UK properties linked to Usmanov. Moshiri’s spokesman told the BBC he was no longer a director of either trust and had never been involved in the management or control of any other.
Designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, the Royal Liver Building was the tallest office building in Europe when it opened in 1911, as the headquarters of the Royal Liver insurance group. The 322-foot-tall building dominates Mersey’s seafront and is best known for its two Liver Bird sculptures, which sit atop its clock towers and a version of which appears on the crest of Liverpool Football Club.
Moshiri holds its stake in the building through a company called Rising Waves Limited, which was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands a month before the 2017 acquisition.