SBD/Issue 181/Franchises

English Soccer Notes: Ownership Switch Leaves West Ham In Limbo

West Ham United's Ownership
Transferred To CB Holding
In London, Gary Jacob reports EPL club West Ham United is "in financial limbo after the club's ownership" yesterday was transferred from Björgólfur Guðmundsson to Icelandic asset management company CB Holding. The new ownership group has a "three-year plan to run the club, aiming to recoup the money it is owed" by Guðmundsson "when the financial climate improves." However, CB Holding reps have "held talks with interested parties in the past week and a takeover could occur sooner rather than later." CB Holding "will want to maintain the value of West Ham and is unlikely to sell too many top players because it could risk relegation and therefore a drop in value." But the new owners also are "unlikely to invest much money" for players (LONDON TIMES, 6/9).

EXPENSE REPORT: In Manchester, David Conn reports EPL club Liverpool is "being made to pay" about $2.99M (all figures U.S.) to "cover the travel, legal and other personal expenses" of co-Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Financial records show Hicks during FY '08 charged about $310,796 for "third party consulting, travel and other expenses," while Gillett charged about $208,816 for "reimbursable travel, legal, personnel and other expenses." The accounts do not offer further detail on what the expenses entailed, and Hicks and Gillett did not comment (Manchester GUARDIAN, 6/9).

TIME TO TOON IN: Seymour Pierce Exec Chair Keith Harris, who is charged with brokering a sale of Newcastle United, said that there are "'two or three' rival parties vying to buy the club." Harris: "I'm confident there will be offers to consider in quite short order." Harris indicated that he "expects a deal to be completed by the end of June." Newcastle yesterday confirmed that the Owner Mike Ashley is seeking $161.9M for the club (BBC.co.uk, 6/8). Newcastle yesterday posted the sale price, as well as an e-mail address for interested buyers, on its Web site, and in London, George Caulkin wrote, "What this announcement has done is simply add another layer of embarrassment to the club. Short of putting it up for sale on eBay, it's hard to see how this could have been handled in a more amateurish way" (TIMESONLINE.co.uk, 6/8).

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