Eisner: No leverage debt in my Pompey bid

Aerial photo of Fratton Park.

Picture: Shaun Roster www.shaunroster.smugmug.com
Aerial photo of Fratton Park. Picture: Shaun Roster www.shaunroster.smugmug.com
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Michael Eisner has pledged he will not load debt onto Pompey.

And the American billionaire is adamant he possesses the finances to drive the club forward.

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who is looking to take over Portsmouth FC.

Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who is looking to take over Portsmouth FC.

Leveraged takeovers are a common tactic employed by new owners during the purchase of a football club, piling on a director’s loan in the process.

Presently Pompey are debt free having successfully fought off liquidation four years ago in the High Court.

But Eisner, who is in talks over Blues ownership, insists the deal through his investment firm Tornante involves equity rather than loans.

He said: ‘There will be no debt put on the club in the acquisition or any immediate work needed on Fratton Park or the Academy.

‘I don’t like debt. Debt can be used efficiently in public companies, which we did at Disney, but being highly leveraged in a risky business like football is really dumb – which is not to say some reasonable debt at some later point is impossible.

‘I would never do anything to put the institution at risk. You don’t make one giant mistake and you don’t hire one way too expensive player, so if it doesn’t work watch the whole thing going down the drain.

‘You don’t do anything which risks the very nature of the institution. So no, we would not leverage now or have excessive leverage over the long term.

‘The Portsmouth community has a very bad taste in their mouth about foreign owners, I would hope I don’t fit into those categories.

‘You guys have spent four years recovering from these bad owners and I don’t think I have ever demonstrated in my career anything that’s even close to that done by those owners over the last decade. But I can certainly understand the fear of that.

‘If we get to the Premier League then it’s a whole different financial structure, I cannot say there won’t be debt. But it will be reasonable!

‘But there won’t be loans I’ll be making to the club. There’s none of that, it will be run like a real business – and there will be no loan that will put the club in jeopardy.

‘Should one day my family exit ownership of the club, they won’t be leaving it in debt which is difficult to handle.

‘Luckily I am not buying or attempting to buy this club on a wing and a prayer. Luckily I am not closing this deal and going to then look for financing.

‘In six weeks I am not going to say “How am I going to fix the safety issues at Fratton Park? Or improve the Academy or invest in the team”. I can afford to do all that – and I am going to do all that, I am committed to it.’