A 27% stake in West Ham United is reportedly due to be sold to Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, with the potential for a full takeover in the future.
It has been widely reported that Kretinsky – who is known as the ‘Czech Sphinx’, is owner of multiple-time Czech champions Sparta Prague and holds the largest share in Royal Mail and the second largest in the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain – valued the Premier League club at between £600 million and £700 million.
The deal could allegedly include an option for the billionaire to conduct a full purchase of the club at a later date, and the initial transaction could be announced as early as November, ahead of the East London side’s home match against Liverpool.
Should the deal be completed, it would represent the end of an era for the Hammers, bringing the eleven-year ownership of the co-chairman and minority owners David Gold and David Sullivan and Vice-Chair Karren Brady (collectively known as ‘GSB’) to a close.
As reported by The Athletic, the potential takeover is linked to the current owner’s arrangement with the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) – the owners of the team’s London Stadium home ground in Strafford, Newham borough – which states that GSB must pay a percentage of any purchase of the club to London taxpayers, although the clause expires in March 2023.
GSBhad previously rejected a bid by Nasib Piriyev’s PAI Capital for undervaluing the club. Piriyev hoped to purchase the Hammers before negotiating terms with LLDC to gain full ownership of the 66,000 seat London Stadium, which is due to be expanded to accommodate a further 2,500 spectators.
The rumoured transaction is the latest in a series of Premier League takeovers, following on from the controversial purchase of Newcastle United FC by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) consortium, ending British retail giant Mike Ashley’s 14 ownership of the team.