Bolton Wanderers agrees pounds 22m takeover by Mosaic

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The Independent Online
Bolton Wanderers became the latest football club to pursue stock market glory yesterday when it agreed a pounds 22m takeover by Mosaic Investments, a cash-rich shell company run by David Williams.

The deal came as shares in Premier League Newcastle United rose to a 5p premium on their first day of dealings, closing at 140p.

With Bolton already on the verge on promotion to the Premiership, the takeover will mean a double celebration for several hundred Bolton supporters who own shares in the club. They will receive 1,150 shares in Mosaic which were valued at 53p prior to their suspension last month.

Mosaic will be renamed Burnden Leisure, an echo of the club's Burnden Park ground which will be vacated for a state-of-the-art stadium at the end of this season. The enlarged group's shares are expected to resume trading on 29 April.

Mosaic's chairman, David Williams, said he was delighted with the deal, though he admitted he had not been a keen football follower. "I'm a Bolton fan now," he said.

He said the Bolton deal represented a good business opportunity rather than the pursuit of a footballing dream.

Burnden Leisure plans to develop into a diverse sports and leisure business. Mr Williams said the plan would be to have football as just one of the activities but the company would initially concentrate on developing amenities at the club's out-of-town stadium being built just off the M61 motorway at Horwich, Bolton.

The deal raises no new money for player transfers. The club's directors, who own 75 per cent of the equity, will not sell any shares until 1999.