Soccer-Everton owner Moshiri raises stake with 100m pounds cash injection

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Arsenal - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - December 21, 2019 Everton owner Farhad Moshiri arrives before the match REUTERS/Phil Noble

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has increased his stake in the club to 94.1% after a 100 million pounds ($135.65 million) capital injection, the Premier League club confirmed on Friday.

The club said in a statement that Moshiri has bought 33,333 more shares, representing a "capitalisation of previous loans".

"The investment by the majority shareholder will ensure the club continues to navigate the significant financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic whilst progressing plans for the first-team squad and the ongoing development of a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock," a statement read.

In an open letter to fans, the British-Iranian businessman conceded it had been a "difficult season" for the Merseyside team who last week parted ways with manager Rafa Benitez.

"After a very disappointing run of results, it was the right decision for the Club -- although it is never one that is taken lightly," Moshiri said.

"I am working closely with the chairman and the Board as part of that strategic review -- and I can assure you the recruitment process for a new manager is aligned to that.

"It is vital we appoint a manager who fits the structure we are putting in place and so, whilst we are keen to make an appointment as quickly as possible, we will work together to ensure it is the right candidate to deliver the success we all crave."

Former Everton forward Duncan Ferguson has been put in temporary charge of the first team for a second time.

"We have a fiercely passionate Evertonian in Duncan Ferguson taking charge of the team on an interim basis," Moshiri said.

"He is a remarkable man and I know he will give his all in leading the team, as he did so impressively during his spell as caretaker boss in December 2019."

Everton are in 16th place, six points above the relegation zone, having lost nine of their last 12 Premier League games.

They host Aston Villa on Saturday.

($1 = 0.7372 pounds)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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