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SBD Global/October 2, 2017/Finance

Blackstone Exec Tripp Smith Buys 10% Stake In West Ham United

West Ham United has become the latest Premier League club to gain investment from the U.S. after a senior Blackstone exec acquired a 10% holding in the east London team, according to Ahmed & Massoudi of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Tripp Smith, a senior managing director of Blackstone and co-founder of asset management group GSO Capital Partners, has become a minority owner of the club, according to three people familiar with the deal. West Ham "remains under the control of its largest shareholders," British entrepreneurs David Sullivan and David Gold. Smith acquired the 10% stake from CB Holding, an Icelandic group that gained the holding after the collapse of Iceland's Stramur Investment Bank in '09, according to a source. Smith has become a director of West Ham United's parent company, according to documents filed in Companies House on Friday, while the Icelandic director, Daniel Svanstrom, "left the group." The price paid by Smith for his stake "remains unclear." West Ham and Blackstone declined to comment (FT, 9/29). In London, Jack Rosser reported though fans would be "understandably excited" by the appointment of Smith, who bought the 10% stake using his own funds, the 52-year-old has "no ambition to increase his share or take a majority." Furthermore, due to a clause in the London Stadium lease agreement, Sullivan "cannot sell to another buyer within the next four years" (EVENING STANDARD, 9/30).
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