A group of investors in the US is in discussions over a deal to acquire Watford. U.S. Marine and Goldman Sachs executive Peter Grieve leads the group, The Football Co. (TFC). TFC only just launched in early 2023, but is supposedly financially backed with a $1 billion portfolio.

According to the company’s website, TFC describes itself as “a global group of club owner-operators and business executives with a shared vision, culture of teamwork, and lifelong respect and passion for the game of football.”

The group also aims to form a successful multi-club ownership model. “TFC’s driving purpose is to bring together the right mix of clubs, maximize player potential, and create the best experiences for fans,” the group posted on its website.

US investors see potential full takeover at Watford

Current Watford owner, Gino Pozzo, previously asserted back in 2022 and early 2023 that he did not want to sell the club. The Italian businessman declared at the time that he wanted to “grow the club” instead. Nevertheless, reports began to surface in late 2023 that Pozzo was already in negotiations to sell at least part of the English club. Ongoing talks between TFC and Pozzo include the possibility of a full takeover.

The Athletic is reporting that Grieve and TFC are currently discussing Watford’s valuation with Pozzo. It is believed that the club is worth somewhere between $190 million and $250 million. This is a fairly significant increase in the team’s reported value just over a year ago. As of Halloween 2022, Watford was reportedly worth just over $160 million.

The increase in valuation comes as the club continues to remain safe in the EFL Championship. Watford finished 11th of the 24 teams following the 2022/23 season. The Hornets currently sit eighth in the table, just over halfway through the current campaign.

TFC currently invested in Zimbabwean club

While discussions are ongoing, several members of the American group, although not Grieve, were recently seen at a Watford match. The potential investors sat in Pozzo’s directors’ box for an FA Cup matchup with Chesterfield at Vicarage Road on January 6th. Watford won the game 2-1 on the day thanks to a dramatic late goal by Tom Dele-Bashiru.

Grieve, and other investors in TFC, do have experience in the soccer world. The former Marine is currently a co-owner of Zimbabwean side Bantu Rovers. The African club launched in 2008 and currently plays in the nation’s top-flight division.

Along with becoming an investor in Bantu Rovers, Grieve also announced earlier that TFC made similar purchases in other global areas. This includes clubs here in the CONCACAF region, South America, and Central Europe. The latter scenario is likely to be in Slovenia, as group members have ties to a club in the country.

Grieve previously attempted to buy fellow Championship side Hull City back in 2016 from Assem Allam. The deal, however, fell through and Turkish media businessman Acun Ilıcalı eventually bought Hull six years later. Grieve was also in investment talks with Brazilian team Atletico Mineiro in 2023 as well.