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

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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”.

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Ali Kabani
Posted in Blog, Commercial.