Talking Point

Suitors for a West Ham takeover

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Talks of a possible West Ham takeover are doing the rounds online this week with a suggestion we could see a move from an investor soon ready to test the owners resolve.

Below are some possible suitors for a takeover:

RedBall Acquisition Corp

The former Premier League boss Richard Scudamore has been appointed to the board of a US-listed company that has been set up to invest in European football, with a Premier League club understood to be top of its wish list.

The RedBall Acquisition Corp’s founders had been hoping to raise $500 million in an initial public offering (IPO) last week but high demand from investors meant underwriters sold another $75 million’s worth of shares, bringing the total to $575 million (almost £440 million).

The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which is registered in the Cayman Islands, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange this week, with a current share price just over the initial offer of $10.

Also known as blank-check companies, SPACs are publicly listed shell companies created to buy or merge with another company, with the money raised from an IPO.

Kapital Football Group

American investor Joseph DaGrosa Jr., chairman of Kapital Football Group (KFG), has already started ownership discussions with two Premier League clubs — although confidentiality agreements mean he can’t disclose who — and is poised to advance his plans with ownership platform KFG.
He calls the Premier League the “granddaddy of them all” when it comes to investing in football — “the league that people around the world look to for quality of play and that has the best recognition.”

Similar to Manchester City and City Football Group, KFG hopes to build a portfolio of clubs around the world, centered on an anchor club in one of Europe’s top leagues.
“We’re not overly concerned if a club is losing money, particularly in the Covid-19 environment,” DaGrosa tells CNN Sport.
“We understand the world has changed but we want to make sure that the club is positioned for on-field success which will ultimately lead to financial success.

Redbull GmbH

David Gold quashed reports of a potential takeover of the club from Red Bull earlier this year.
The global brand has been linked with a buyout of the Hammers in the past but nothing materialised.
Back in 2016, reports claimed David Sullivan and Gold turned down a £650m approach from Red Bull, but this was denied. In 2017, Red Bull’s global head of football Oliver Mintzlaff flatly rejected any suggestion they had made a takeover bid. “I should really know about this in my function because I’d be actively involved in it,” he said at the time.
Rumours resurfaced earlier this year online.

UAE investment group

The Daily Mail reported that there has been interest in the club from a high-powered and un yet United Arab Emirates group
The Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment (ADUG) is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) based private equity company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the UAE.

The primary interest of the group is its 78% majority ownership of City Football Group which owns Manchester City
Premier League rules would forbid the ownership of a second Premier League club.

Tripp Smith Consortium

West Ham director Tripp Smith, who bought a 10 per cent stake in the club with personal funds three years ago, is putting together a US consortium with a view to buying a controlling interest it was claimed by the Daily Mail.

The consortium rumours started in 2017 and have persisted ever since without any real substance and credibility.
Tripp Smith is not a billionaire which every report claims, he is a multi-millionaire but does not make Forbes rich list, the US version of the rich. Smith is also no longer in charge of financial firm Blackstone which manages billions in assets as is often claimed, he stepped down in 2019.

Often linked as a potential investor to the potential consortium was Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who sadly passed away last year. The Seattle Seahawks owner died aged 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Todd Boehly

American billionaire Todd Boehly told Bloomberg back in September what he finds so appealing about the Premier League and discusses the chances of his buying one of its football clubs. He told how football is the biggest sport in the world and says the passion that the fans have for the sport and the teams is unparalleled. He goes on to say that the Premier League has no competition in the American Saturday morning TV sports schedule.

The businessman is no stranger to London as he studied at the London School of Economics. Chelsea and Spurs were both linked with potential takeovers by the American last summer with a $3billion bid for Chelsea turned down by their Russian owner.

Boehly is the chairman, chief executive officer and controlling member of Eldridge Industries, which is a private investment firm and the former president of Guggenheim Partners. He owns 20% of the LA Dodgers and part-owner of the LA sparks and is said to have a net worth of £4.72 billion. Boehly spent his early career at Credit Suisse First Boston which is where West Ham 10% shareholder Tripp Smith also worked prior to founding GSO Capital Partners.

Comolli led consortium

A report suggested ex-Liverpool technical director and former Spurs director of football Damien Comolli was looking to buy the Hammers.
Liverpool’s technical director is reportedly heading an American consortium looking to buy a Premier League club. The Frenchman was an influential figure in English football between 1996 and 2012 as he worked for Arsenal, Spurs and then Liverpool in various recruitment and strategic roles. But his last direct involvement with any Premier League club was at Liverpool. That spell ended after just two years.

Saudi Arabia consortium

The Saudi consortium headed up by mega-rich Mohammad Bin Salman has been linked with a potential takeover of West Ham in the past (Football Insider).
Amanda Staveley’s consortium is having trouble sealing a deal for Newcastle United which is backed the Saudi Arabian crown sovereign wealth fund, in conjunction with property magnates Simon and David Reuben

If they can’t conclude a deal for Newcastle it would be surprising that they could turn their attentions to West Ham.

Qatar Investment Fund

A report in the Daily Telegraph in 2019 claimed that the Qatari Royal family are looking at the possibility of buying an English club has increased speculation that West Ham could be a target. Qatar Sports Investments which owns PSG is chaired by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who is also PSG’s president. The report claimed QSI was exploring whether it makes sense to buy a club in England to expand its portfolio to challenge in the Premier League

Uefa rules forbid two clubs in a European club competition, such as the Champions League or Europa League, being directly or indirectly controlled by the same entity however this would not be a problem if the Qataris used a different vehicle other than QSI. In 2016 a Daily Mail story suggested that West Ham are a target of a Qatari takeover however rumours were at that time denied.

CAA – Creative Artists Agency

Perhaps one of the most random suggestions is that CAA have their eyes on West Ham takeover.
It is an American talent and sports agency based in Los Angeles, California in the US and is regarded as the most dominant and influential company in the talent agency business and manages numerous clients.

They are rumoured to want to move into the sports team business and have the ambition to own a Premier League club.


Talking Point

Ken's Cafe wants memories

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Ken’s cafe is to close its doors at the end of this month it has been announced.

The Green street eaterie once the favourite cafe of many West Ham fans is shutting down.

The family are asking for memories, stories, pictures and well wishes to be emailed for a scrapbook.

Ken and Carol Lucas have been running Ken’s Cafe for 53 years.

Grandson Billy Huckstepp posted the following on the Boleyn Days Facebook group.

Dear fellow Hammers
Ken’s cafe is retiring 1967-2020!!

I am after a little help from you all if you can.

My Nan and Granddad own Ken’s Cafe in Green Street. This was the first cafe as you left the Boleyn ground heading towards Upton Park tube
(also had a burger table outside the shop front)

Ken and Carol Lucas have decided that after 53 years, this is the right time to close their kitchen for good!!
For the majority of their years, West Ham and the supporters were a significant part of their lives and business

Many of you may have your own memories of the cafe over the years.

As a memorial to their time owning the café, We (the family), would like to make a scrap book/ collage for them, from their customers, supporters, happy hammers and friends that they have made over this lifetime of trading.

And this is where I ask you for your help.

We would like you to use the email address at the bottom of this post to send any good wishes, memories, Experiences and photos etc, that you may have and wish to share with them, for us, so we can present them in a scrapbook /collage of them to keep, as West Ham and you have been such a big part of their lives for such a long time.

We are looking to give this to them at the end of the month so please if there is any help you or someone you may know, that went into the cafe and could take a few moments to send a quick email, that would be gratefully appreciated

Any information will only be privately used for Ken and Carol to keep as a scrapbook/collage

Many thanks in advance

Family of Kens Café

Kenscafe1967@gmail.com

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Talking Point

2020 London Stadium Survey results

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The results from the London Stadium survey 2020 are in with 11,672 match going supporters filling it out – we are able to publish today a true reflection of West Ham fan’s updated perception of the London Stadium, one year on from the last survey and 44 months after moving in. On the whole, perceptions have decreased in the majority of categories over the last 12 months.

The supporter survey was promoted by several West Ham websites, blogs and social media channels.

After nearly four years in the London Stadium do you believe that the move was a good idea?

Yes 15%
No 67%
Not sure 18%

A swing of 40% on last year when 27% said it was not a good idea.

When will the London stadium feel like our proper home?

It does already 7%
4-5 seasons 12%
6-10 seasons 12%
+10 seasons 12%
It never will 57%

Another swing of 36% on last year saying the London Stadium will never fill like home.

If you are a season ticket holder do you plan to renew for next season?

Already have/Multiyear deal 1%
Yes 26%
No 12%
Not sure 24%
Not a season ticket holder 34%
On the waiting list 3%

With season ticket renewals yet to be announced it hard to compare these results against last year’s.

If you are a season ticket holder have you ever used ticket exchange functionality for matches you can’t make?

I never miss a game 15%
Yes sometimes 20%
Yes, every time I can’t go 8%
I prefer to sell it myself or forward to a friend or family 27%
Not worth it financially 21%
I prefer to leave my seat empty 9%

Broadly similar to last year although the amount who prefer to leave their seat empty when not in use has risen from threefold from 3%

What is your view on the general matchday atmosphere at the London Stadium in terms of volume and support for the team?

Excellent 4%
Good 18%
Average 42%
Poor 36%

A swing of 22% to poor on last year not impressed with the London Stadium atmosphere.

What is your view on the quality of stewarding and security taking into account the last game you attended at the London Stadium?

Excellent 2%
Good 18%
Average 38%
Poor 42%

A swing of 11% to poor for the quality of stewarding at the Stadium

What is your view on the quality, choice and price of food and drink within the London Stadium?

Excellent 1%
Good 10%
Average 35%
Poor 54%

A swing of 13% to poor on this section compared to last year

What is your experience of the London Stadium sightlines and views of the pitch from your seat?

Excellent 9%
Good 29%
Average 31%
Poor 31%

What is your experience of travelling to and from the London Stadium taking into account walking, public transport or car?

Excellent 8%
Good 27%
Average 30%
Poor 35%

A 10% swing to poor compared to last year

How do you rate your general matchday experience at the London Stadium?

Excellent 3%
Good 21%
Average 41%
Poor 35%

A 21% swing to poor compared to last year

West Ham has been criticised by some for not paying enough in the contribution to the running costs. Do you think West Ham should pay more?

Yes 33%
No 39%
Don’t know 28%.

A swing of 11%  who believe West Ham should pay more for the London Stadium compared to last year

Do you think West Ham will become a regular top-six club within the next five years as a result of the move to the London Stadium?

Yes 3%
No 88%
Not sure 9%

A swing of 16% on No compared to last year

Do you think West Ham will kick on to the next level and become a top-four team within ten years as a result of the move to the London Stadium?

Yes 3%
No 87%
Not sure 10%

A swing of 17% on No compared to last year

Do you think the West Ham board are doing a good job?

Excellent 1%
Good 4%
Average 22%
Poor 73%

The biggest swing of the survey with a 57% swing to poor for the West Ham board.

Last year 2019 figures were Excellent 3% Good 36% Average 45% and Poor 16%

How well does West Ham value you as a supporter and listen to fans concerns?

Excellent 1%
Good 4%
Average 24%
Poor 71%

The second biggest swing of the survey with a 40% swing to poor on valuing and listening to supporters.

Last year 2019 figures were Excellent 2% Good 20% Average 47% and Poor 31%

These results together with 4,950 additional comments were sent to David Sullivan, David Gold,  Karren Brady, Tara Warren and Andy Mollet on Saturday morning.

A copy of the full 2020 survey data including all comments can be downloaded from HERE  

Previous years London Stadium Survey results

2019  2018  2017 


Poll

London Stadium Survey 2020

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Just over three years ago West Ham Till I Die with others ran the first London Stadium survey in March 2017.

Supported by a number of different West Ham websites, blogs and social media accounts, the survey was completed by over 10,000 match-going supporters in previous years.

The 2019 survey results were published last year at:

www.westhamtillidie.com/posts/2019/03/26/london-stadium-survey-results-published

The 2020 survey takes around three minutes to fill out and is designed only for those who have visited the London Stadium in-person to sample one or more West Ham games this season. Please base your answers on your most recent visit to the London stadium to recognise areas which may have improved or deteriorated.

We would like to encourage as many season ticket holders, claret members and general admission ticket supporters to answer this questionnaire as possible so please spread the word far and wide on forums and social media. This is designed to be an independent survey of supporters and not affiliated one particular West Ham site, blog or social media channel.

A copy of the results of this survey including all comments will be shared with the West Ham board of directors after the closing date.

Fill in the 2020 London Stadium Survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RRZNRGF


Financial

West Ham financial accounts revealed

West Ham’s newly announced financial accounts for the 2018/2019 season have been released at 9 am this morning which show a record turnover of £190.7m, however the club posted a big loss of £28.2m when player trading was factored in.

The main areas show:

O Turnover increased by £15.4m from £175.3m to £190.7m

O TV income grew by £8.9m from to £118.5m to £127.4m

O  Ticket income grew by £2.9m from £24.5m to £27.4m

O Commercial and sponsorship including corporate hospitality sales grew by £3.4m from £24m to £27.4m

O Retail and shop sales grew by £500,000 from £8.2m to £8.7m

O The club published a gross profit of £20.6m but this reduced to a net loss of £28.2m after net spend of player trading was factored in

O Wages increased by £29.2m from £106.6m to £135.8m which means wages account for 71,2% of turnover.

The highest-paid director wages (believed to be West Ham Vice-Chairman Karren Brady) increased her salary from £898,000 to £1.13m.

O  Net spend on player transfers was listed at £89.4m for last season 2018/2019 with £6.8m of potential add-ons.  Post balance notes reveal a net spend on transfers of £35.8m last summer (2019) with £3.4m of potential add-ons.

In the last four years the club say they have spent £214.4m net on new players and has invested £22m on infrastructure, including complete refurbishment of facilities at Rush Green, including a new gym and new training pitches; the Academy at Chadwell Heath was totally rebuilt; and almost £2m has been invested in the Women’s team.

O An update on West Ham loans:

The club re-paid a £39m short-term loan to Media Rights and Funding between May and July 2019. A new short term loan of £39m with Media Rights and Funding was secured against the training grounds and Stadium lease to help with cash flow. This loan is due for repayment in July 202o.

The Share Holder loan balance £45m has been deferred from payback in January 2020 to a date yet to be defined. Two payments totalling £2.9m were paid to David Sullivan and David Gold in respect of interest accrued on Share Holder loans.  Interest was charged ar 4.25%.  An additional £1m payment was made to a company controlled by David Gold as a partial payment of loan capital.


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