Football club owners claim they were not shown shareholders’ agreement during takeover

The new owners of Swansea City football club have claimed that they were not made aware of a pre-existing shareholders’ agreement when they completed a successful takeover of the club last year.

Businessmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, who acquired a controlling stake in the club last summer, have insisted that they were not shown the agreement at the time of the deal.

Meanwhile, Swansea City Supporters’ Trust, which owns a 21.1 per cent stake in the club, has voiced concerns that it was not consulted over the takeover until negotiations had reached ‘an advanced stage’.

In October last year, the Trust told the media that it was taking legal advice in relation to the way the takeover was handled.

It alleged that there was a breach of contract over the original shareholders’ agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement in question, shareholders who wish to sell their shares are required to offer them to other internal parties before they are allowed to offer them for sale externally, the Trust said.

However, American businessmen and new owners of the club, Mr Levien and Mr Kaplan, claim that, at the point they secured their 68 per cent share in Swansea City, stakeholders such as club chairman Huw Jenkins indicated that there was no such pre-written agreement in place.

After being made aware of the document’s existence, Mr Levien then asked to see the agreement in order to discuss the matter with the Trust – who are still yet to take action over the concerns raised.

When asked to respond to reports of a potential legal dispute, a Swansea City spokesperson said: “As a club, we have moved on from the takeover process.

“The original shareholders that are still with the club, the new majority shareholders and the Supporters’ Trust are now looking and working to the future”.

Much-publicised mistake costs senior figure her job

Failing to declare a possible conflict of interest this week cost the job of a senior figure at one of Britain’s biggest institutions.

Charlotte Hogg, who was poised to become a deputy governor at the Bank of England, agreed to resign after she failed to disclose that her brother was employed at Barclays.

Her mistake, which came to light as Ms Hogg prepared to face Parliament’s Treasury Committee earlier this month, breached the bank’s code of conduct.

The case throws into sharp relief the importance of organisations of all sizes ensuring that staff adhere to corporate governance requirements at all times.

In her resignation letter, Ms Hogg – who had been at the bank since 2013 and had even been tipped to take over from incumbent governor Mark Carney – apologised for her omission.

“It was an honest mistake: I have made no secret of my brother’s job – indeed it was I who informed the Treasury Select Committee of it, before my hearing,” she said.

“But I fully accept it was a mistake, made worse by the fact that my involvement in drafting the policy made it incumbent on me to get all my own declarations absolutely right.”

The Bank now intends to tighten up its code of conduct, which Ms Hogg had previously helped to shape.

Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Treasury Committee, said: “This is a regrettable business with no winners. Ms Hogg has acted in the best interest of the institution for which she has been working. This is welcome.

“It is also welcome that the Bank has responded immediately by announcing an internal review.”

Millennials “hugely optimistic” about starting their own business

A new survey has revealed that around three-quarters of 18-24 year olds want to start up their own business in the future.

The research, conducted by Idinvest Partners, found that despite Brexit uncertainties, 76 per cent of millennials want to become their own boss, which means that two out of every 10 people will own a business by 2018.

Its survey further found that the younger someone is, the more entrepreneurial their outlook is. When older adults were asked the same question, 70 per cent of 25-34 year olds, 66 per cent of 35-49 year olds, and just 48 per cent of 50-64 year olds said they wanted to go it alone.

In terms of motivation, around half (48 per cent) said they wanted to see financial success, while a similar number (47 per cent) were in it for freedom and independence.

Those surveyed said the biggest obstacles will be losing access to the EU’s single market, and raising funds to launch their business.

Christophe Bavière, CEO at Idinvest Partners, said: “While some future entrepreneurs will be considering their options in light of Brexit, the majority continue to see themselves as future business owners and start-up founders.

“These findings clearly demonstrate the strong entrepreneurial drive at the heart of the nation and the belief that the UK continues to provide a supportive social and economic environment to foster this talent- a view that we continue to support”.

Alex Saint, co-founder and CEO of Secret Escapes, added: “The British entrepreneurial climate is as hot as ever, we’re a nation of creative thinkers who value hard work, ambition and aren’t too keen on having a boss.

“It’s disappointing that we’ve chosen to distance ourselves from Europe but I’m not surprised that budding UK entrepreneurs aren’t deterred, I don’t see any reason right now why people shouldn’t be hugely optimistic about starting their own business.”