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


Leicester City



West Ham United

Atletico Madrid

PSV Eindhoven

Derby County

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits