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American businessman John Textor acquires stake in Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace v Manchester United – Premier League – Selhurst Park
(Image credit: Peter Cziborra/NMC Pool)

Crystal Palace have announced American businessman John Textor has acquired a stake in the Premier League club after “significant sums” were invested, according to chairman Steve Parish.

The founder and chief executive of Facebank, a virtual entertainment company, has joined Parish and fellow joint-owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer as part of the board at the south London side.

Textor, who was close to buying shares in Benfica earlier this summer, has already invested into Palace and has a loose link to the club in midfielder Jacob Montes, who signed in May after progressing from the Florida FC Prep Academy which was set up by the new Eagles shareholder in 2016.

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“I have looked at many opportunities across European football in which to invest so I could follow my passion for football and have a meaningful stake in a club,” Textor explained.

“Over the past six months of discussions, I have also developed a real affinity to Crystal Palace FC, its history, the staff and, of course, most importantly the supporters who create an incredible atmosphere at every game – one I cannot wait to witness again when supporters return to fill Selhurst Park this season.

“I very much look forward to working with the chairman and the other partners.”

Parish revealed Textor’s investment has contributed towards this summer’s rejuvenation of the first-team squad with Michael Olise, Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen joining for undisclosed fees totalling close to £50million, the PA news agency understands.

The Florida resident was chief executive of Digital Domain, a visual effects company involved in numerous films including Titanic, and has also helped towards the Eagles redeveloping their academy – that now holds Category A status – during the past 18 months in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

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A substantial minority investment has been made by Textor, but Parish’s share of the club is not set to change from the 18 per cent he originally held when Harris and Blitzer completed their investment in the club back in 2015, the PA understands.

Palace chairman Parish added: “We have been looking for the right investment for the right investor for a while, both to progress the club and deal with the significant financial challenges of the past 18 months due to Covid.

“I’m delighted that search led us to John, who has invested significant sums, helping to facilitate the rejuvenation of the squad, bolster the balance sheet and enable the club to finalise the academy.

“We all look forward to working with John, who has a strong passion for football and a growing knowledge and affinity to Crystal Palace.”

Textor had been interested in buying shares in Benfica until president Luis Filipe Vieira was placed under house arrest over allegations of tax fraud and money laundering in July.

In a statement on Textor’s own website last month, he described the Portuguese team as the “People’s Club” but has now secured a stake in Palace, who were saved by a consortium led by Parish and three other Palace supporters back in 2010 after they had been placed into administration.

Since promotion to the Premier League in 2013, the Eagles have remained in the top flight for nine consecutive seasons, with Patrick Vieira appointed as their new boss in July after Roy Hodgson stepped down at the end of the last campaign.