Football clubs set to flood on to the market as rules relax

The UK quoted football sector is set to explode into life over the next few months. Moves by the English Premier and Football leagues to relax restrictions on the ownership of football clubs will lead to a flood of flotations. A plethora of European clubs are also eyeing up the UK stock market.

Leicester City, the Premier League club which won the Coca-Cola Cup last season, yesterday set the ball rolling by confirming it planned to float by reversing into Soccer Investments, the quoted cash shell created by venture capitalist group Apax Partners. The combined group will be valued at pounds 35m.

Apax plans to bring at least one more big-name football club to the market before the start of the football season next month. Domestic targets are understood to include two Premiership teams, West Ham and Derby, and the First Division promotion hopefuls, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City. Apax has also had talks with several leading European clubs thought to include Atletico Madrid, the Spanish club which recently signed Brazilian midfield ace Juninho for pounds 12m, Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, currently owned by electronics giant Phillips, and leading Portuguese club Benfica.

"We are considering European Soccer Investments. We certainly have a lot of interest from clubs and investors," a spokesman for Apax said yesterday.

This could be just the tip of the iceberg. Several other European clubs have advanced plans to float in the UK, according to industry sources. Italian footballing giant AC Milan recently appointed NM Rothschild to advise on its flotation. Other clubs considering floating in London include Inter Milan and Bologna, the Italian rivals, Betis, one of the largest clubs in southern Spain, and Oporto and Sporting Lisbon of Portugal .

"There is likely to be a flood of European football clubs coming to the UK in the near future. The AIM market is attractive to these clubs as it does not require them to have a three-year profit record," said Tony Fraher, head of a specialist football fund run by investment bank Singer & Friedlander.

Under Premier League rules investors who own a large stake in one team are not permitted to own more than a 10 per cent holding in another club. However these rules look set to be relaxed, paving the way for a host of domestic flotations.

"A working party is looking into this and may well decide to raise the level higher than 10 per cent," said a Premier League spokesman. The Football League, which looks after the UK's lower footballing divisions, looks set to follow suit.

Investment funds have already been told informally that they can breach the 10 per cent limit so long as they clear it with football authorities first, according to industry sources.

Leicester City had one of the most successful seasons in its history last year under the inspirational leadership of Irish manager Martin O'Neill, finishing in the top half of the Premier league and lifting the Coca-Cola cup. It will use the pounds 10m already raised by Soccer Investments to buy new players and expand its stadium, increasing the capacity of Filbert Street from 22,500 to 31,000 spectators.

Soccer Investments floated on AIM last April, vowing to sign up a Premier League team by the start of the season. Its four directors, including Alan Hansen, the Liverpool football player turned TV pundit, stand to make a large profit from the Leicester deal. They were each awarded 10,000 share options on becoming directors. These could be worth upwards of pounds 20,000 each if, as analysts believe, Leicester is valued at around pounds 50m when it starts trading on AIM.

Soccer Investment's shares were suspended at 110.25p yesterday pending its acquisition of Leicester City.

Football clubs considering stock market flotation

Manchester City

Benfica

Leicester City

Wolverhampton

Wanderers

West Ham United

Atletico Madrid

PSV Eindhoven

Derby County

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Anna Smaill’s debut novel, The Chimes, is a fusion of fantasy and romance
booksMan Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Arts and Entertainment
One of the Pyongyang posters, the slogan of which reads: ‘Let the exploits of the northern railway conductors shine!’
art
Life and Style
Linguine with mussels and fresh tomatoes
food + drink
News
Actor Roddy Piper attends the world premiere of 'The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened?' at the Egyptian Theatre on April 30, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Administrator

£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about custom...

Recruitment Genius: Dialler Administrator

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Main purpose: Under the directi...

Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City of London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer