SBD/Issue 87/Franchises

Former Birmingham City Owners Complete West Ham Takeover

New West Ham Owners
Pay $81.7M For 50% Stake
Former EPL club Birmingham City co-Owners David Sullivan and David Gold have "completed their takeover" of EPL club West Ham United, according to Jacob & Smith of the LONDON TIMES. Sullivan and Gold paid around $81.7M (all figures U.S.) for a 50% stake, "valuing the club" at $171.6M. Sullivan and Gold "will have the final say on all club matters," and former Birmingham City Managing Dir Karren Brady will become West Ham Vice Chair. Sullivan said their "long-term aim will be to put the club on a stronger financial footing." Sullivan: "We have a seven-year plan to take the team into the Champions League and make it a big club. ... Over seven years we plan to spend a lot of money and we hope to persuade the government to let us move to the new Olympic Stadium, and I believe the people of east London would support that move." Jacob & Smith note Gold and Sullivan's offer for the club was "preferred to a series of other offers," including from London-based investment company Intermarket, which "made the highest bid but was unable to prove that it had sufficient money for a takeover." An American group was "favoured by the banks that are owed nearly" $81.7M by the club, but it "withdrew because its request for exclusive talks was rejected" (TIMESONLINE.co.uk, 1/19). In London, Jason Burt notes Sullivan as part of the deal "has been given 'operating control' of the club although he cannot make any significant financial investments without the approval" of Iceland-based bank Straumur, which owns the other 50% of the club. Sullivan "has an option to buy the remainder 50[%] at a fixed price at any point in the next four months." If he "does not do so within that timeframe then the price ... goes up" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 1/19). 

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