Foley closer to gaining go-ahead to invest $12 million in Scottish club Hibernian

Auckland A-League club backer Bill Foley is set to invest about NZ$12 million in Scottish club Hibernian to help player recruitment and upgrade training facilities, according to media reports.

The Scottish Sun reports billionaire Foley (79) will invest an initial £6 million(NZ$12 million) in Hibernian if and when the Scottish Football Association give their approval for the American to take a minority stake in the club.

Most of the money will be earmarked for player recruitment, potentially in the January transfer window if approval comes through from the SFA, and to upgrade the club’s East Mains training ground, particularly a full-size indoor facility.

Main photo: Bill Foley … building a portfolio of international football investments.

Foley is the investor behind the yet-to-be-named Auckland expansion A-League club.

He is building a portfolio of investments in international football clubs that already includes English Premier League’s Bournemouth and French Ligue 1’s Lorient. He has publicly stated he wants football investments in Scotland and the Netherlands too.

The Scottish Sun says Foley is seeking a stake of just under 25% in Hibernian, and his overtures have been met positively by the club’s major shareholders, Ian and Kit Gordon, and the sport’s national body.

‘A player pathway from the A-League to the EPL’

Foley’s vision is for a group of international clubs benefiting from talent exchange and ideas, providing a pathway for players from the A-League to the English Premier League.

He said recently: “This is going to be a pathway for a lot of young people to move up, get into the A-League and then perhaps move on, go to Scotland.

“If they can go to the top of the pyramid, then they go to Bournemouth in the Premier League.”

Foley has made it clear he does not intend to be a controlling shareholder in Hibs.

He told Talksport: “We’re going to be an investor but we certainly want to coordinate acquisition and disposition of players with Hibs and I know they can use the help.”

‘Investment could turn Hibs into third-best Scottish club’

Meanwhile, a BBC report quotes football finance expert Kieran Maguire as saying Hibs could become the third-best club in Scotland with Bill Foley’s investment.

Speaking to BBC Sportsound, Maguire said Foley’s investment could cover the Edinburgh side’s wage bill and free up funds elsewhere.

“He certainly could inject enough money,” Maguire said.

“If you take a look at Hibs’ wage bill, it’s equivalent to a top eight team in League One in England.

“If that money goes into player development, it could make the club more competitive.

“But it would still be that even if their wage bill goes to £10m ,it is still only a fifth of the likes of Celtic and Rangers, so they are not going to be challenging those clubs.

“But, it is certainly going to mean that Hibs are in contention to being the third-best club in Scotland.”

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