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FSG and Nike 'in running' for LeBron James deal that could benefit Liverpool

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Basketball icon and Liverpool fan James, who converted his two per cent stake in the Reds into one per cent of the overall FSG operation back in March as part of the reshuffle that went on as a result of the $750m investment into the FSG business, which also includes sporting teams such as the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the NASCAR outfit Roush Fenway Racing is, according to Variety, in talks with a consortium that includes RedBird, FSG and Liverpool kit suppliers Nike over taking a 'significant minority stake' in his SpringHill Co entertainment company.

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group and RedBird Capital Partners, the private equity firm that took an 11 per cent stake in the business earlier this year, are part of a consortium looking to take a stake in LeBron James' entertainment company.

The potential deal between James' SpringHill Co and RedBird, founded by former Goldman Sachs executive Gerry Cardinale, was first reported by US sports business website Sportico, with the deal potentially seeing RedBird, FSG and Nike strengthen ties with James, one of the planet's most marketable athletes who is building his own business empire away from basketball.

It is more evidence of a strong working partnership between FSG, RedBird, Nike and James, all of whom had strong ties already in place, and all of who have strong links back to Liverpool.

Stronger relationships between RedBird, who are tipped to become key players in FSG's future, FSG, Nike and James, himself a part of the ownership group behind Liverpool, have potential knock-on effects further down the line for the Reds.

Nike's own relationship with Liverpool sees the US firm pay around £30m per year guaranteed, but the Reds will benefit from 20 per cent royalties on the sale of Liverpool branded Nike merchandise globally, something that analysts believe could push the value of the deal above £60m and closer to the £75m per year Manchester United have guaranteed with Adidas.

Some see RedBird as having a larger say in FSG further down the line, and with James' growing business empire, one that seems destined to make him only basketball's second ever billionaire after Michael Jordan, there has been some suggestion that James himself has grander plans to make a bigger footprint.
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