Billionaire American investor William ‘Bill’ Foley is set to buy a minority stake in Hibernian FC and hopes to make it the undisputed third force in Scottish football. The Easter Road outfit are currently owned by the family of American businessman Ron Gordon, who died last year.
Foley, who has an estimated net worth of around $1.6 billion, is already known to many in the football circuit following his acquisition of AFC Bournemouth in 2022. This is not the only sports team owned by the 78-year-old as, earlier this year, Foley also purchased a minority stake in French Ligue 1 Club Lorient which now partners with the Cherries.
The interest in the Hibees has arisen following the potential decision by the Scottish FA to relax the rule which bans an organisation or individual having a controlling stake in two clubs at the same time.
Who is Bill Foley?
Born in Austin, Texas, Foley is a former attorney who specialised in financial services. He attended the United States Military Academy and made $40,000 on the stock market in which he invested during his spare time.
Following a short career in the US Air Force, Foley moved into corporate law before buying and revitilising Fidelity National Financial.
The American investor’s first foray into sport came when he explored the potential purchase of National Football League’s Jacksonville Jaguars before it was eventually purchased by Shahid Khan.
He is the lead investor, chairman and CEO of Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, a consortium that owns the American hockey club Vegas Golden Knights. Foley also has investment in wineries, golf courses, hotels, restaurants and auto parts manufacturers.
In October 2023, following the purchases of both the Cherries and Lorient, the Australian Professional Leagues announced Foley as the preferred bidder to own a new A-Leagues expansion club based in Auckland, New Zealand. The licence would include both men’s and women’s teams to be introduced for upcoming 2024/25 season.
Bournemouth ended their first season under Foley and his consortium’s ownership in 15th position while Lorient currently sit 15th in Ligue 1.